“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.
“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