PETALING JAYA: Malaysian ambassador to the US Nazri Aziz has refuted a viral message on social media alleging that the US State Department has brought down his hierarchy of diplomatic importance following Malaysia’s refusal to recognise Hamas as a terrorist organisation.
“No, it’s not true and, more importantly, I have not felt so. Prime Minister Anwar Ibrahim has also not been disinvited to the Apec (Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation) conference in San Francisco (next week).
“In fact, during the recent US State Department briefing for the Apec summit, the Philippines ambassador and I were the only ones from Asean who were present,” he told FMT in a WhatsApp message.
Nazri was asked to comment on a message on social media claiming that he and his embassy’s protocol hierarchy has been reduced by four levels while its neighbours Singapore, Indonesia, Thailand and Vietnam remain where they were.
The message from an unknown source said that from now, Nazri’s direct liaison official will be the desk director in charge of Asean at the State Department and not the assistant secretary of state for the Far East and Asean affairs.
Anwar revealed last week that despite Malaysia receiving three “demarches”, or diplomatic notices, from the US embassy on the country’s position on the Israel-Palestine conflict, Malaysia will not recognise Hamas as a terrorist organisation.
On claims that the downgrade would make application for US visas considerably harder, Nazri said it could not be true as 15 Malaysians from Universiti Sains Malaysia and the Bumiputera Agenda Steering Unit who visited him a few days ago had no problems in obtaining their visas.
“Anyway, you need to ask the US embassy in Kuala Lumpur for the latest status on visa applications. Even if it’s true, it is a small sacrifice for Malaysians to make compared to the Palestinian children and the elderly who have lost their lives,” he said.