FORMER Padang Rengas MP Datuk Seri Nazri Abdul Aziz said he is open to not receiving a salary for his appointment as the new Malaysian ambassador to the United States.
In fact, just as Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim is not receiving a salary as prime minister, the former tourism, arts and culture minister said he is also prepared to do the same.
“I took up the post not for the money […] I have a bit of money saved but if the Government wants to give me a salary I will not decline. Furthermore, I’m no longer a politician and money is not the goal,” he was reported as saying by Utusan Malaysia.
“It’s not the salary but the responsibility that I want as I think I can contribute to the Government in the next two to three years.”
According to Nazri, his appointment as ambassador to the US should not be made an issue as he is free from elements of nepotism, cronyism and favouritism.
He noted that his appointment cannot be regarded as nepotism as he is not Anwar’s next of kin, and neither is he a crony who is loyal to the prime minister.
Nazri further confirmed that his name was put up for the ambassador role when Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob was prime minister, with his name being proposed to the US in April last year, and the US had accepted in September.
“Despite the criticism, it is important to me that the Yang di-Pertuan Agong has given me the appointment, and the prime minister made an explanation that he had not appointed me, so there is no favouritism, no cronyism, no nepotism, which means I’m clean,” he remarked.
In the interview with the Malay daily, the former minister also revealed that he had met with Anwar to discuss his appointment as ambassador to the US in December last year.
“During the meeting I told [Anwar] as a comrade and friend that if my appointment is a burden to him, then don’t appoint me [as ambassador]. Yes, I’m excited and happy that he is the prime minister, but if my appointment will affect his credibility and his workflow, I did tell him not to proceed with my appointment,” he said.
Nazri’s appointment had drawn flak from netizens who had questioned Anwar’s wisdom in appointing him as ambassador as well as Nazri’s qualifications.
Two former diplomats have similarly criticised Putrajaya’s decision to appoint Nazri to the role, with both Noor Farida Ariffin and Dennis Ignatius describing Nazri’s appointment as disappointing.
Calling it “bad judgment” on Anwar’s part to nominate Nazri, Noor Farida told FMT that it is not fair to career diplomats when they are denied the opportunity to be promoted to an ambassadorship.
Noor Farida, who is the former ambassador to the Netherlands, further noted that the move was demoralising to career diplomats who might be qualified for the post.
Meanwhile, Ignatius, a former Malaysian high commissioner to Canada, in a terse response said: “Day by day, the PM (Anwar Ibrahim) disappoints.” – Feb 14, 2023
Main pic credit: The Star