​KUALA LUMPUR, May 17 — Prime Minister Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob should inform Malaysians why he made controversial Umno leader Datuk Seri Tajuddin Abdul Rahman Malaysia’s ambassador to Indonesia, said Bayan Baru MP Sim Tze Tzin.

Sim — who is also a member of the Parliamentary Special Select Committee on International Affairs — said that relations with neighbouring Indonesia were a major priority for Malaysia and not something that could be put at risk.

Citing his experience with Foreign Ministry officials, the PKR lawmaker said he was confident there were many experienced diplomats who were eminently more qualified at navigating the intricacies and challenges involved in the two countries’ ties.

Sim said that while the appointment was made by the Yang di-Pertuan Agong, this was on the advice of the prime minister who must be made to account for the decision.

“The prime minister must answer to the public why he chose Datuk Tajuddin as ambassador to Indonesia,” he said in a statement today.

Sim questioned if the Pasir Salak MP is the right candidate for the important post, noting the latter’s past conduct in Parliament and removal as Prasarana Malaysia Berhad non-executive chairman after a controversial press conference following a LRT crash in KLCC last year.

“Is he the right choice for this important position?” Sim asked.

“Datuk Tajuddin is also considered as the latest political appointee. Political appointees have often failed to uphold institutional professionalism.”

Earlier today, Tajuddin confirmed in a brief message to MalaysiaKini that he has been appointed as the country’s new ambassador to Indonesia.

“It’s true,” Tajuddin was quoted as saying to MalaysiaKini.

The post of ambassador to Indonesia has remained vacant since Zainal Abidin Bakar, who was appointed on March 21, 2019, retired on April 4, 2021.

* A previous version of this story contained an error which has since been corrected.