KUANTAN, May 21 The process of appointing a Malaysian head of mission abroad takes a long time with nominated individuals having to go through various prescribed screenings, says Foreign Minister Datuk Seri Saifuddin Abdullah.

He said the name of the individual must also be sent to the country involved as a proposed candidate to be agreed upon, with there are two categories of those who can be appointed, namely from among the diplomatic officers who are serving or those not from among diplomatic officers.

"The government also feels there is a need to appoint those not from among diplomatic officers (as heads of missions) and can consist of a politician, former politician, former police or military officer, and so on.

"During the Barisan Nasional (BN) administration, this was the case. It was the Pakatan Harapan (PH) government that said there can be no appointments other than from among diplomatic officers and the current government has decided those who are not diplomatic officers can also be appointed," he said.

Saifuddin said this at a press conference during the Indera Mahkota Parliamentary Constituency and Perikatan Nasional (PN) Aidilfitri do here today, which was attended by thousands of residents and members of PN component parties, namely Bersatu, PAS and Gerakan.

He added that several individuals appointed as Malaysian heads of missions abroad were also scheduled to receive their official letters from the Yang di-Pertuan Agong Al-Sultan Abdullah Ri'ayatuddin Al-Mustafa Billah Shah soon, with the ministry waiting for a date from Istana Negara.

According to Saifuddin, there were 25 more candidates in the process of being appointed, which he considered a relatively large number, as the country had not been able to send new representatives due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Bernama