- The Washington Times - Wednesday, December 31, 2008

ANALYSIS/OPINION:

The report “Malaysian Controversy” by James Morrison (Embassy Row, World, Dec. 11) contains misleading information that must be corrected.

First, Ambassador Khalid Ghazzali departed Washington on completion of his tenure in March 2006, and he did not resign from the Foreign Service. He assumed the post of ambassador at large at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Malaysia, upon his return from Washington. He did not leave Washington “under a cloud,” as claimed by Mr. Morrison. Ambassador Ghazzali has an unblemished record of more than three decades of public service.

Second, the appointments of Malaysian ambassadors/high commissioners are made by His Majesty the King of Malaysia on the recommendation of the prime minister of Malaysia. It is also the prerogative of any government to appoint any individual who is deemed qualified to the post based on many criteria, including one’s vast knowledge and experience in diplomacy and current affairs, diplomatic skills and good personal attributes.

Third, the visit of former Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad to the United States and his meeting with President Bush in 2002 were arranged through diplomatic channels.

Fourth, the Senate report on Jack Abramoff did not conclude that the Malaysian Embassy in Washington was involved in any illegal activities. Neither has the embassy been found by any U.S. judicial authorities to have committed any wrongdoing during Ambassador Ghazzali’s tenure in Washington.

The blogger quoted by Mr. Morrison condemned the Malaysian judicial system for “‘a new politically motivated show trial of Anwar Ibrahim.’” The truth of the matter is that the ongoing trial is being conducted strictly in accordance with the law and in open court, accessible to local and foreign observers. Anwar Ibrahim’s defense team is led by a senior member of the bar who is also a former president of the Malaysian Bar Council.

DATO’ THAN TAI HING

Undersecretary

Department of Information and Public Diplomacy

Ministry of Foreign Affairs

Malaysia

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