KUALA LUMPUR: The poser over the actual status of DAP chairman Tan Kok Wai’s status as Malaysia’s special envoy to China was finally resolved, after Foreign Minister Datuk Saifuddin Abdullah confirmed the former’s appointment.
Saifuddin said the decision to appoint Tan as the envoy was made at a recent Cabinet meeting.
“He was appointed by the Cabinet as a special envoy to China,” Saifuddin wrote in a brief WhatsApp message reply to the NSTP on Friday.
The confirmation puts to rest the confusion which arose following conflicting statements from Tan and Saifuddin.
Reports had previously indicated that Tan, who is Cheras member of parliament, had been named as the country’s special envoy to China.
Saifuddin, in an interview, had initially refuted the report and said Tan was only the Malaysia-China Business Council (MCBC) chairman.
Tan, meanwhile, told NSTP that he was appointed as the special envoy to China, as well as the MCBC chairman as of Aug 1.
“The Foreign Minister (Saifuddin) has confirmed that the Cabinet agreed to my appointment as the special envoy to China, as well as the MCBC chairman. Thank you,” he wrote in a text message.
Tan’s appointment had been met with criticism from opposition leaders, as Pakatan Harapan had previously lambasted the Barisan Nasional (BN) government over such appointments, deeming them a waste of funds.
Former MCA president Tan Sri Ong Ka Ting was the BN government’s special envoy to China. He served out three terms in the position, from Nov 2011 up to his resignation in Jan this year.
DAP national organising secretary Anthony Loke however, said Tan’s appointment did not go against PH’s election manifesto, as it was not a political appointee for a government-linked company (GLCs), but as a government representative. © New Straits Times Press (M) Bhd