KUANTAN: The appointment of DAP chairman Tan Kok Wai as special envoy to China will not disrupt or affect the existing duties of the current ambassador, Foreign Minister Datuk Saifuddin Abdullah said.
He said that the appointment of Tan, who is also Cheras MP, came with specific tasks, which would “complement” the job functions of the ambassador to China, Datuk Zainuddin Yahya.
While acknowledging that the current policy was to do away with political appointees as envoys, there was a need to improve and forge better ties with China because of its size and vastness, said Saifuddin.
“This was the thinking when we wanted to appoint the special envoy,” he told reporters after attending the Indera Mahkota Parliamentary Consultative Council (MPIM) meeting at Kompleks Dagangan Mahkota, here today.
Saifuddin, who is also Indera Mahkota MP, said that Tan had already been appointed and was now waiting for the official letter from the Prime Minister’s Office.
Tan, who also took over as chairman of the Malaysia-China Business Council (MCBC) from Aug 1, had earlier confirmed his appointment as a special envoy to China, and it caused polemics as the ruling Pakatan Harapan coalition had been critical of envoys who were political appointees.
Saifuddin also commented on the MPIM saying that its establishment was to enhance the planning and coordination of all parties in search of developmental ideas and resolving the problems of residents.
He said that MPIM had 52 members from different backgrounds, saying he hoped that the figure could be increased to 60 with the participation of more women and young people.
“The many issues raised at the inaugural meeting today are related to economic and employment opportunities, which if not overcome, can lead to social problems and other issues.
“There are also parties who have raised problems faced by teenagers and in developing the tourism sector in the area. Concerns on education and health were also brought up so that we could look for solutions,” he said.
Saifuddin added that appropriate action would be taken to address the issues before the second meeting in June next year. – BERNAMA © New Straits Times Press (M) Bhd