PUTRAJAYA, June 9 — Five new Malaysian heads of missions (Malawakil), among them to Indonesia, Saudi Arabia and Japan, will receive their letters of appointment from the Yang di-Pertuan Agong Al-Sultan Abdullah Ri’ayatuddin Al-Mustafa Billah Shah on June 20.
Foreign Minister Datuk Seri Saifuddin Abdullah said the remaining 24 vacancies for heads of missions, including to Australia and New Zealand, were in the process of being finalised.
“These five have already received approval from the host country,” he told reporters after delivering the keynote address at the 50th anniversary of the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) in Malaysia, here, today.
Saifuddin explained that the vacancies were due to the retirement of officers and also due to the Covid-19 pandemic which made the movement of officers not feasible.
He added that the same problem was also experienced by other countries and this could be seen when a large number of heads of foreign missions to Malaysia submitted their credentials to the Yang di-Pertuan Agong recently.
“It is very rare for more than 20 (heads of missions) to be handing over their credentials at the same time,” he said.
The media earlier reported that the Director-General of Public Service, Datuk Seri Mohd Shafiq Abdullah of having said that the Public Service Department (JPA) was in talks with the Foreign Ministry to immediately fill 29 vacancies for head of missions.
Mohd Shafiq said, at the moment, the vacancies were being filled by chargé d’affaires ad interim.
For the record, Malaysia has 107 representatives overseas with some being heads of missions and the rest consuls general.