Is our foreign minister doing his job?

In the wake of Datuk Seri Shahrizat Abdul Jalil’s “resignation” from cabinet, a DAP MP has questioned the competency of the Foreign Minister, Dato’ Sri Anifah Haji Aman.

“It is embarrassing that only in Malaysia, we see a Tourism Minister, who is supposed to promote local tourism, spending more time overseas than the Foreign Minister,” said DAP International Secretary Liew Chin Tong.

Liew said Anifah spent most of his time in Kota Kinabalu or Kimanis “playing politics”, rather than being in foreign countries promoting a more constructive relationship with Malaysia. Diplomatic visits undertaken by the Minister were mostly out of formality and short of a clear objective.

This session’s Parliament sat yesterday and Liew has submitted these questions for the foreign minister to clarify:

a)     The frequency of his presence in day terms in Wisma Putra, Putrajaya and Kuala Lumpur

b)    The frequency of his presence in day terms in Kota Kinabalu and Kimanis

c)     The frequency of his presence in day terms overseas for official visits.

Liew urged Prime Minister Dato’ Seri Najib Razak to revamp his tired and underperforming cabinet, adding that Anifah should be replaced for his “lacklustre” performance since his appointment in 2009.

Former diplomat Dennis Ignatius in his column “Wisma Putra adrift in foreign affairs” published in The Star newspaper on the 9th of February 2012 commented that “Wisma Putra no longer has the capacity to provide sound strategic advice to the Government”.

The MP for Bukit Bendera also criticised Anifah for not having the proper leadership that the foreign ministry needs in order to bring Malaysia to the forefront of international affairs, pointing out that Wisma Putra “lacked concrete direction” with regards to its foreign policy.

Liew said that Wisma Putra has mainly focused on administrative issues and consular services while failed in providing clear policies to fulfil our foreign agenda.

“As a result, the government has opted for “global strategic communications” managed by foreign firms and advisors as its main foreign agenda,” Liew said, in reference to the FBC fiasco.

The Malaysian government paid public relation company FactBased Communications (FBC) Media to make a series of eight documentaries for the BBC about Malaysia, in a breach of ethics which the BBC later apologised for.

In a statement, Liew added that the foreign ministry portfolio is one of the most important positions in any government as the interest of a nation often lies in the handling of its neighbours and the world’s affairs.

Liew blames Wisma Putra’s “reactive” rather than “proactive” foreign policy for the decreasing relevant role of the Non-Aligned Movement (NAM) and Organisation of the Islamic Conference (OIC) in world affairs. Malaysia is a part of both organisations. -The Rocket

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2 Comments

  • Our Wisma Putra.. Ministry of Foreign Affair..if you need to know how to obtain a visa for a business visit to a foreign country… One would look up the telephone directory to check if that country has a embassy or consulate whereby you can enquire about getting a visa. If it is not listed in the phone directory one would take the next course of action and that is to call Wisma Putra to find out. The country in question is Tajikistan, not a popular place where Malaysian would go for holidays or for business. So we rang Wisma Putra thinking we would get some kind of lead. The reception at Wisma Putra didn’t know where is Tajikistan..least of all pronounce it… So she transfer our call to a senior office

  • the call was transferred to a senior officer. To our dismay, she hasn’t got the faintest idea where Tajikistan is. Is this the ministry of foreign affairs?

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