KUALA LUMPUR, Nov 1 — Malaysia's ambassador to the United States Datuk Seri Mohamed Nazri Abdul Aziz has reportedly revealed that the country's State Department had expressed its displeasure with Prime Minister Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim’s statements that criticised Israel and labelled the Zionist regime as "terrorist".
News portal Astro Awani quoted Nazri saying that the State Department had even requested for Malaysia to issue a statement to sympathise with Israel, to which he replied it was impossible.
“I told the US State Department representative that Malaysia will not bow to any pressure simply because it supports the Palestinian cause," he was quoted saying.
The former minister also chided Parti Pribumi Bersatu Malaysia’s Wan Ahmad Fayhsal Wan Ahmad Kamal for his lack of knowledge regarding the démarche notice from the US Embassy to Malaysia's Ministry of Foreign Affairs on the Palestine-Israel conflict.
He said Wan Ahmad Fayhsal was unaware of the content expressed in the diplomatic notice, and that it would not be deemed as a threat if the content of the démarche is expressed in a broad general manner.
“However, I understand the content of the démarche better as it was I who communicated with the United States (US) State Department. I want to inform Wan Ahmad Fayhsal that what the prime minister said in Dewan Rakyat was true.
“So, if he doesn't know [on the content of the démarche], it's better for him to not comment,” Nazri was quoted as saying.
Yesterday, Wan Ahmad Fayhsal had questioned why Anwar had regarded a démarche delivered by the US embassy here as a threat towards its administration as it was just a diplomatic notice.
Meanwhile, Nazri also refuted Wan Ahmad Fayhsal’s claim that former prime minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad took a sterner stance on the Palestinian cause compared to Anwar.
The former Padang Rengas MP said that he joined the Cabinet during Dr Mahathir’s time and all prime ministers after him have always condemned Israel's actions against Palestine.
“Throughout that time, I can’t recall that Malaysia was issued a démarche by the United States,” he said, implying that this was the first time that the US issued such a notice to Malaysia.
Nazri was also reported cautioning Wan Ahmad Fayhsal that Malaysia being issued the démarche was a serious matter.
“To me, it is not something that can be taken lightly, and definitely not something to chat about in a coffee shop in Machang.
“He should remember that there was a case of Mossad agents infiltrating our country and killing Hamas representatives here,” he said, adding that the issue should not be manipulated for political support.
Nazri was referring to the assassination of Palestinian engineering lecturer Fadi al-Batsh, who is also a Hamas member, in Kuala Lumpur in April 2018. In the incident, two men believed to be Mossad operatives, were on a motorcycle and fired at least 14 shots at Fadi killing him on the spot.
Yesterday, Anwar during the Prime Minister’s Question Time, alleged that the US had exerted pressure on Malaysia, with its State Department calling up the country's ambassador in Washington over the matter.
His office also confirmed with the press that Putrajaya had received a démarche notice from the United States on the Palestine-Israel conflict on October 13, while the US Deputy Chief of Mission to Malaysia, Chargé d'Affaires Manu Bhalla, had called on a deputy secretary-general of Malaysia's Ministry of Foreign Affairs on Monday.
The US State Department defined a démarche as a “formal diplomatic representation of its official position, views, or wishes on a given subject” which seeks to “persuade, inform, or gather information from a foreign government”, or to “protest or object to actions by a foreign government”.