KOTA KINABALU, Oct 26 — Tan Sri Bernard Dompok, a former federal minister and former Sabah chief minister, is set to be the first Malaysian ambassador to the Vatican City come 2016.
Foreign Minister Datuk Seri Anifah Aman in announcing this, said Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak had agreed for Dompok to take on the position and that the necessary paperwork was in progress, including getting approval from the city state.
“We feel that he is the right choice in many aspects. He has also been on official visits to the Vatican with Malaysian delegations.
“He has also met several previous Popes during his visits,” The Star Online quoted Anifah as saying in its report today, adding that he would also be the ambassador to the Mediterranean countries of Malta and Albania.
Anifah said Dompok, who is former United Pasokmomogun Kadazandusun Murut Organisation president, would be based in Rome once things are finalised by January.
Najib visited the Vatican in 2011 to promote Putrajaya’s push for world peace and harmony and formalised its relations with the Vatican.
Dompok was Sabah chief minister from 1998 to 1999, Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department in 2004 and Minister of Plantation Industries and Commodities in 2009.
He quit politics after he lost the Penampang parliamentary seat in the 2013 general election to PKR’s Darell Leiking. He was UPKO president from 1994 to 2014.