Datuk Seri Nazri Abdul Aziz today admitted he made a mistake by commenting on Wisma Putra’s decision to summon the Chinese ambassador to Malaysia over the latter's remarks during a visit to Kuala Lumpur's Petaling Street.
The Star Online today reported that the tourism and culture minister said he had no intention to interfere in Wisma Putra’s affairs, after Foreign Minister Datuk Seri Anifah Aman rebuked his Cabinet colleagues for interfering in the ministry’s affairs.
Nazri said he told the Chinese envoy Dr Huang Huikang not to worry because the usual practice was for the foreign minister to summon an ambassador, and not the deputy minister.
“The normal practice in Cabinet when one minister is not in the country, only another minister can act on his behalf, not his own deputy minister,’ Nazri told the Star Online today in a text message from Turkey.
Nazri said as such, he thought the Foreign Ministry did not make a decision to summon Huang as Anifah was away in New York for the United Nations General Assembly.
“I thought our foreign minister will call the ambassador himself when he comes back because that is within his power and proper but not his deputy.
"Obviously, I am mistaken and did not know that the foreign minister has instructed his deputy,” he said.
Nazri was quoted as saying that as a minister for 16 years, who had previously covered the foreign minister many times on requests, he concluded that only a minister could act on behalf of Wisma Putra, which was strict on protocol.
“Certainly now that is all changed and I am not aware but one thing is sure, I’m a very experienced minister and interfering is certainly not my intention,” he said in The Star Online report.
Nazri reportedly took Deputy Foreign Minister Datuk Seri Reezal Merican Naina Merican to task for calling in Huang over remarks by the Chinese envoy during his visit to Petaling Street on Friday.
Following this, Anifah (pic, left) expressed regret over comments by other ministers without referring to him first.
He said the matter could have been solved by Wisma Putra without their interference.
It was reported that Huang had met acting foreign minister Datuk Hamzah Zainuddin yesterday.
The envoy reportedly said that China was against extremism and racial discrimination, and warned against attempts to use violence to disrupt public order.
His comments came days after a group of "red shirt" protestors tried to get into Petaling Street which is dominated by Chinese traders, on September 16.
The group turned unruly and police had to use water cannon to disperse them. – September 29, 2015.