Jamaluddin Jarjis should not be appointed Malaysian Ambassador to the United States
The position of the Malaysian Ambassador to the United States of America, arguably the most important ambassadorial appointment, has been vacant for almost a year, following the retirement of Ambassador Datuk Dr. Rajmah Hussain on 20 June 2008.
According to a report in Malaysia Insider on 6 May, yet to be denied by the government, former Minister and Member of Parliament for Rompin, Datuk Seri Jamaludin Jarjis, is slated to assume the position, subject to vetting by the US State Department.
While he was chairman of government-linked Tenaga Nasional Bhd, Jamaludin Jarjis was alleged to have made illegal payments through the Malaysian Embassy in Washington, D.C. to lobbyist Jack Abramoff to secure an appointment for the then Prime Minister, Tun Dr. Mahathir Mohamad, with President George W. Bush. Abramoff was investigated, tried and convicted.
On top of that, Jamaludin Jarjis has also been criticised for comments made about Malaysian Indians at a gathering organised by the Malaysian Consulate, on a trip to the United States a couple of years ago.
It is strange that the government is leaving such an important appointment vacant for such a long time, to the extent that a visit by the new Foreign Minister Datuk Anifah Aman to US State Secretary Hillary Clinton, was conducted without the presence of our ambassador.
But it will be even more shameful if Jamaludin Jarjis, known in the United States for illicit lobbying activities, is proposed as our man in the United States.
I call on Foreign Minister Datuk Anifah Aman to defend the integrity of the Malaysian Foreign Service and the good name of Malaysia in general in the appointment of the Malaysian Ambassador to the United States and reject this dubious political appointee for the post.
Liew Chin Tong