I dont know what is wrong with our Foreign Minister and his diplomats at the Wisma Putra. I am also not sure whether Anifah Aman is fit to be a foreign minister. If he really is the man for the job, he shouldnt let our foreign policy looks so loose and incompetent.
I am not a diplomat but when I was with the Business Times, I had my weekly column 'Diplomatically Writing'. I browsed well with the diplomatic circle in Malaysia and I knew all ambassadors, high commissioners and most of their diplomats. Rockybru was my editor then. I even took some of them to the National Press Club to mingle with our media reps. I remember US Ambassador then Lynn Pascoe (now UN deputy sec-gen for political affairs) calling me 'ambassador at-large' for being so attentive to any world issue. I enjoyed the job as I had the privilege to call them anytime, even after midnight, for comments.
And here we are, having a foreign minister whom I think only acts on advice from his officers. Or does he need to refer to the Prime Minister each time Wisma Putra wants to issue any statement on global issues? Then, may as well we abolish the FM portfolio.
When Israel announced on March 10 that it would build new Jewish settlements in the West Bank, most Islamic countries and others, including the United Nations issued statements objecting and condemning it. I waited and hoped for similar action from our government.
Finally, it came... 20 days later when Anifah issued a statement that Malaysia condemns the Israeli plan. It came when US President Barack Obama avowed his objection to visiting Israel Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu last week, which soured US-Israel relations for the first time.
I dont understand how our foreign policy comes into effect and how Wisma Putra executes it. We were always late in reacting to any major global issues. Our statement on Israel atrocities on Gaza last year came three days later, and so was our statement on the earthquake in Haiti.
Maybe I understand why yesterday's statement 'had to be issued' - because Rosmah Mansor had earlier in the day announced our medical aids to the Palestinians! Or am I wrong? Or do we need to wait for Najib or Rosmah to comment first before we are allowed to issue an official statement?
Remember when more than 50 Australian MPs protested against Anwar Ibrahim's sodomy trial? Wisma Putra reacted a few days after I blogged suggesting Malaysians to protest at the Aussie High Commission!
I still have high regards for Tun Dr Mahathir's foreign policy, especially when Tun Abdullah Ahmad Badawi was his foreign minister. We were fast in reacting to any world issue and Malaysia gained respect at the UN for speaking for the developing countries, the Palestinians and others. Our voice was heard! Remember TDM speech at the UN Security Council?
We were once the chairman of the OIC, the champion of the G77 and also the South-South cooperation. What happened after that is history.
Najib should address the weakness at Wisma Putra, notably with regard to boiling and running international issues. We are the friends of many and many are our friends. If our foreign policy is just a set of signatures in the guest book, may as well we close it.