KUANTAN, January 16 — Wisma Putra has not made any announcement regarding the names of candidates being considered as Malaysia’s envoys abroad, Foreign Minister Datuk Seri Saifuddin Abdullah said.
As such, he advises all parties not to dwell on the issue of appointments that has gone viral on social media recently as it will not help the country’s relations with foreign nations.
“Usually, such appointments are made through diplomatic channels, and in Malaysia, we will only know when everything is completed and announced in a proper manner that will hopefully bring about good bilateral relations,” he said at a media conference after officiating Koperasi Reflisia Timur Berhad’s annual general meeting.
Without mentioning any names, Saifuddin said the appointment process could take between three to six months and the appointment is official when the individual receives the instruments of appointment from the Yang di-Pertuan Agong.
Saifuddin said those appointed could be from two categories, officers from the diplomatic service and those not in the service, encompassing former ministers, former government officials, and serving MPs.
On the required criteria of those not from the diplomatic service, Saifuddin said it involves those thought to be capable of bringing about good relations between both countries in addition to the individual’s experience.
“This practice is common in many countries and when we select a candidate, they will go through a strict assessment process where each candidate will be vetted by the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission and several other government agencies.”
“After the vetting is completed, only then will the candidate’s name be forwarded to the host country through diplomatic channels, and they will go through the approval process according to the country’s policies and principles before being acknowledged. This means there are two layers of vetting,” he added.
In some countries, including Malaysia, the names of candidates received from foreign countries will be presented to the cabinet by the foreign minister for consideration, while there are other countries that have required that the matter requires parliamentary approval.
Saifuddin said under the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations, the host country had absolute rights to consider the candidate without needing to inform the sending country if they rejected the suggested candidate.
“In most situations, the rejection of a candidate by a host country is based on the country’s principles, and not because of the candidate nor the status of diplomatic relations. Every country has its own methods and criteria,” he added.