PETALING JAYA: The foreign ministry has directed several heads of Malaysian missions overseas whose appointments were politically related to the former Barisan Nasional (BN) government to vacate their posts, a report said today.
Political appointees to ambassadorial posts are common throughout the world, especially in the USA, where large political donors to political parties are rewarded when the party they backed wins in an election, with the prestigious positions which those donors crave for.
In Australia too, political appointees are quite commonplace. Examples were Liberal Party's Alexander Downer (a failed Liberal Party PM-aspirant) as High Commissioner to the UK, Labor's Kim Beasley (another failed but Labor Party PM-aspirant) as Ambassador to the USA, and National Party's Tim Fisher (former Aus DPM and a staunch Catholic) as Ambassador to the Holy See (Vatican).
But in those countries, politically-appointed ambassadors weren't and haven't been withdrawn when the parties they backed lose an election. They were allowed to finished their assigned tours, and in some cases, even had their tours extended if they did excellent jobs for their countries. Yes, they were/are considered as exemplary citizens of their countries in the eyes of the host nations and the world.
Envoys aren't appointed on whims and fancies but through considerable sets of protocols which includes the proposed envoys' acceptance by their host nations. To suddenly withdraw those envoys would not only alarm the host nations but also insult the latter's earlier acceptance.
Let me discuss with you a couple of examples, namely:
(a) Datin Blanche O’Leary - she was formerly High Commissioner to Papua New Guinea (PNG), appointed in 2009. That was nearly 10 years ago. She has since (in 2013) been appointed Ambassador to Finland.
Alas for her, she is the wife of Kayveas of the now-questionable myPPP, but is considered as a BN person or a BN appointee.
(b) Bernard Dompok - member of UPKO, former CM Sabah and former minister (PM's department & Plantation Industries and Commodities) until 2013. He, as a Catholic, was appointed Ambassador to the Holy See (Vatican) in 2015.
Blanche O’Leary would have served 5 years as Ambassador to Finland and would have come to the end of her normal 5-year tour whilst Dompok has been envoy to the Vatican for about 3 years.
Rather than present a nasty mean-spirited picture to the world that these two were recalled by their nation because of their political affiliations, it would have been more dignified and gracious to just allow, in Blanche O’Leary's case, her tour of duty to end without any unnecessary adversarial attribution, and in Dompok's case, for his tour to be completed in April 2020 (5 years tour and also as per an earlier extension by the BN government).
Likewise with the others.
The new PH government has shown its politically-divisive nature even in such areas as the field of diplomacy where Malaysian envoys (irrespective of their domestic political affiliations) should be upheld as exemplary Malaysian citizens in the eyes of the world, as Western and more mature nations do with their political appointees.
We don't want our Malaysia to reflect the vindictive meanness of Mahathir towards our envoys in the way he has been against Najib, Anwar, AAB and KJ.