No more political appointees as envoys, says PM

Jerry Choong
Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad said from now on the position of ambassadors or high commissioners will be filled by career civil servants. ― Picture by Razak Ghazali

PUTRAJAYA, Sept 21 — The position of ambassadors or high commissioners will no longer be filled in by political appointees, Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad said today.

He said at the request of the Foreign Affairs Ministry, the government has agreed to stop this practice.

“This is for examples such as retired individuals who are rewarded to become ambassadors abroad, among others,” Dr Mahathir said,during a press conference following the meeting of the Special Cabinet Committee on Anti-Corruption.

Instead, he said from now on the posts will be filled by career civil servants ― a move he called “a strong action against ourselves”.

“This is because there are many members of the government parties who would like to enjoy life as a diplomat abroad,” Dr Mahathir said, without providing further elaboration.

He added that existing political appointees serving as ambassadors or high commissioners would be recalled to Malaysia and their contracts terminated.

It is understood this move is required to be discussed and tabled in Parliament before it can be finalised.

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