KUALA LUMPUR, Aug 31 — DAP national chairman Tan Kok Wai has confirmed that he has been appointed as Putrajaya’s special envoy to China.
Refuting Foreign Affairs Minister Datuk Saifuddin Abdullah’s remark that he was only made chairman of the Malaysia-China Business Council (MCBC), Tan told news portal Malaysiakini that his appointment was signed by Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad.
“If he (Saifuddin) doesn’t know, he can clarify with the PM or with me. I’m just a phone call away. I forgive his (Saifuddin’s) innocence. I hope he can do the appropriate clarification,” Tan was quoted as saying.
Malaysiakini said it had sighted Tan’s appointment letter that was dated August 1.
The report pointed out that the appointment does not carry the minister title.
Saifuddin yesterday reportedly said that Tan was not a special envoy.
However, he has since clarified on his Twitter account that he was unaware of Tan’s appointment as special envoy to China when he made the statement.
“I said YB Tan Kok Wai has been appointed by the Cabinet to be special envoy to China.
“But during my interview, I did not know his role because the TOR+official appointment letter was not ready,” he tweeted, referring to the terms of reference.
Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Datuk VK Liew had said in Parliament on August 14 that Tan’s appointment was decided but its terms must still be finalised.
This drew flak from certain quarters, especially MCA, with its deputy president Datuk Seri Wee Ka Siong questioning Pakatan Harapan (PH) to confirm the matter.
Wee then urged the Foreign Ministry to clarify the matter with the Prime Minister’s Office, saying the discrepancy was embarrassing.
He also noted that the special envoy position was distinct from the chairmanship of the MCBC, saying that Tan Sri Ong Ka Ting had held both positions before he was removed by the PH government.