KUALA LUMPUR, Feb 11 — The appointment of Umno warlord Datuk Seri Nazri Aziz as the new Malaysian ambassador to the United States was made a year ago, Prime Minister Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim has clarified today.
Under fire for allegedly awarding Nazri the post following the alliance of Pakatan Harapan and Umno, Anwar added that the confirmation from Washington had arrived six months ago.
“I only asked for the permission of the Yang di-Pertuan Agong to delay the appointment letter so that I could prepare my Cabinet line-up,” Anwar told reporters here after officiating the Housewife Social Security Scheme and MyFutureJobs 2023 Career Carnival.
Anwar only took over as prime minister in November last year, with Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob from Umno serving before him.
He also stressed that if the appointment was cancelled, it would bring about many problems.
"Sometimes when people want to criticise, they should not be hasty. When I came, there were debates which heavily criticised this, but the US had just confirmed it, and if we cancel the appointment there will be a lot of problems," he said.
Anwar added that criticisms are allowed but the allegations made were harsh.
"The attacks made it look like as if we were responsible [for the appointment], but it was done following a confirmation process by the US," he said.
In 2021, Nazri had announced his retirement from politics after 26 years in the Dewan Rakyat.
Since last year, Nazri was speculated to be appointed as the country’s ambassador to either Switzerland or the US. However, he reportedly rejected the offer to become an envoy to Switzerland as he was still an MP.
Nazri's appointment was met with disapproval, among others from former ex-diplomats including former ambassador to the Netherlands Datuk Noor Farida Ariffin and former Malaysian high commissioner to Canada Dennis Ignatius.
He has since shrugged off criticisms thrown at him over his appointment as the new Malaysian ambassador to the US, saying the only opinions that mattered were those of the Yang Di-Pertuan Agong and the prime minister.