Lobby for a Malaysian to be next Commonwealth Secretary-General

Lobby for a Malaysian to be next Commonwealth Secretary-General

The Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi has realized the urgency of deciding whether Malaysia is interested in offering a candidate for the Commonwealth secretary-general post.

He said in Windhoek that Malaysia should not repeat an earlier case where it could not decide if it was interested in the chair of the Organisation of Islamic Conference, resulting in the country not getting all the support because other countries had already made up their decision on other candidates.

I do not know whether Abdullah had been misreported and he was referring to the defeat of the Malaysian candidate for the post of Secretary-General of Organisation of Islamic Conference in June 2004, with the Turkish nominee appointed to head the secretariat.

When I first raised the issue in Parliament last week of a Malaysian candidate for the post for Commonwealth Secretary-General to replace the incumbent Donald C. McKinnon, the Foreign Minister, Datuk Seri Syed Hamid Albar admitted Wismaputra paralysis on the matter as it does not have a suitable name to be put forward as Tun Musa Hitam was not interested.

Is Malaysia so scarce of qualified, competent and calibre material to be put forward for the post of Commonwealth Secretary-General, when Malaysia can chair the OIC and Non-Aligned Movement?

Are we so lacking in confidence in the capabilities and qualifications of Malaysians to helm international organizations like the Commonwealth?

Having lost out once in putting forth a candidate for OIC, are we now afraid of another international rebuff in lobbying for a Malaysian to be the next Commonwealth Secretary-General?

I fully agree with the director-general of Malaysia Think Tank London, Wan Saiful Wan Jan, the first to advocate that a Malaysian should be appointed the Commonwealth Secretary-General, as the time has come for an Asian to head the organization.

The previous secretary-generals have come from other regions, viz:

1. Arnold Smith (Canada) 1965 — 1975.

2. Shridath Ramphal (Guyana) 1975 — 1990.

3. Chief Emeka Anyaoku (Nigeria) 1990 — 1999.

4. Don McKinnon (New Zealand) 1999 — 2007.

In making his case for a Malaysian as the next Commonwealth Secretary-General, Wan Saiful said:

At a time when the world is faced with dire conflicts and serious developmental needs, there is a lot that Malaysia can offer. Religious intolerance, racial discord, income inequalities, social exclusion, problematic delivery of education, the need for economic development, inefficient healthcare, and many more, are problems frequently encountered in many Commonwealth and non-Commonwealth countries. And these are problems that we in Malaysia have had to deal, or are dealing, with. A Malaysian leading the Commonwealth Secretariat will be able to bring in the wealth of experience for the benefit of the wider Commonwealth family.

The challenges waiting the next Secretary General is vast and diverse. The Commonwealth needs to set itself as an international power capable of balancing United States’ domination of global politics. It needs to act as the bridge between East and West. It also needs to utilize its diverse membership such that it can be the bridge between the Muslim world and others – we should remember that twelve of the fifty seven OIC members are also members of the Commonwealth.

The Commonwealth should also make itself a beacon of decentralised power — showing how it is possible to respect national sovereignty and allowing each country to follow its own path, while recognising the imperatives of interdependence. And it should use its diverse membership to show how free trade between countries can catalyse economic development, social progress and technological advancement throughout its network.

Malaysia does not have much time to dilly-dally on this issue as the decision of the next Commonwealth Secretary-General would be made in six months’ time by the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM) in Kampala, Uganda from Nov. 23-25.

The Cabinet must have confidence that Malaysia is not short of towering figures with the requisite experience, qualities and qualifications for the post.

For a start, an all-party Parliamentary Select Committee on International Affairs should be set up before Parliament adjourns on Wednesday with the first task of identifying the Malaysian candidate and lobbying for a Malaysian to be appointed the next Commonwealth Secretary-General at CHOGM in Kampala.

  1. #1 by Richard Teo on Sunday, 22 April 2007 - 6:36 pm

    There is no lack of qualified candidate for the post provided we include all selections to all Malaysians of all races and not confine to only malays.Candidates who qualified on merit should be considered irrespective of race and religion.

    [How about posters proposing nominees who qualify to be the Malaysian candidate to be the next Commonwealth Secretary-General for consideration by the nation, Parliament and government? – kit]

  2. #2 by sheriff singh on Sunday, 22 April 2007 - 7:23 pm

    Yes. Its typical of Malaysians to dilly dally as usual and to miss the boat, sorry, yacht. No wonder most of the FDIs have gone elsewhere.

    India and Sri Lanka are preparing to propose their candidates as they did for the UN Secretary General’s post last year. They did get some support for their candidates especially from India.

    Similarly, Singapore, the little red dot and another Commonwealth country, could put forward Goh Chok Tong’s name and he would be a very strong candidate.

    There are no shortage of candidates from Asia actually.

    But we dilly-dally.

    Are we short of talent here in Malaysia? Maybe we are. Have we cast our nets wide enough?

    Anwar Ibrahim might be a possible candidate but there’s that thing about his conviction which a Royal Pardon cannot resolve. And of course his ‘reputation’.

    And how about Mr LIM KIT SIANG himself? Yes Lim Kit Siang for Commonwealth Secretary!

    Why not? I thing Sdr Lim has the experience as an MP and Opposition Leader for almost 30 years to be qualified.

    We need a Malaysian citizen not necessarily from the government’s ranks. Think out of the box. Think wide. The government must not be selfish or narrow-minded as otherwise it fails.

    Yes, Lim Kit Siang should be considered for the post. Let us all campaign for him. Let us root for him.

    There’s also another perspective though. Given the factions, power plays, in-fighting and scandals in UMNO, perhaps Pak Lah had one person in mind when he made the comment in Windhoek.

    The candidate he had in mind is HIMSELF – Pak Lah. After all, Tun said Pak Lah was supposed to be a one term premier so its time for him to exit, folks!

    Pak Lah as head of the OIC can now go ‘head’ the Commonwealth Secretariat and impart his ‘vast experience and knowledge’ and “Islam Hadhari’ there. (Just like the Tunku did at OIC). This would be a graceful exit for him, this beleaguered premier. Alot of headaches and migranes would be gone for him.

    Then Najib would become PM, as what the Tun wanted (no other choice), and RAHMAN will come to pass. Whether Najib can stay on as PM would be another matter. There would be alot of realignments in UMNO after this.

    Or to solve the touchy case of “Miss Mongolia, Altantuya”, Pak Lah could boot Najib to the Secretary General’s post in London to save the day and solve the embarrasing situation. Then Pak Lah can have smooth sailing in his, sorry somebody else’s, yacht. Tensions gone for both of them.

    But heck, Sdr Lim Kit Siang should be considered.

  3. #3 by kurakura on Sunday, 22 April 2007 - 10:48 pm

    Mr Singh, Uncle Lim is indeed a potential candidate but as Mr Richard Teo pointed out…..it will remain a dream rather than a reality.

    When they decided to send the first Malaysian to space, I already know which race they are going to send. Well I could be making assumptions here because the airforce has almost 100pc bumiputera personnel but hmmm…..why is it such a high percentage?
    (I am not racist, I have great Malay friends who are not racists too)

    It’s just a problem with insecure leaders trying to please the majority of insecure people.

  4. #4 by k1980 on Sunday, 22 April 2007 - 10:56 pm

    You think najib is so stupid to give up the emperor’s post in malaysia and settle for a position of no importance in a dying third-rate organisation such as the commonwealth. More than a score of former british colonies in Asia and Africa refused to join the commonwealth to this day because they realise long ago that it is a worthless organisation being propped up by the british to remind themselves of the days of empire. Even PPP’s Kayveas himself would not even apply for that post and prefer the more prestigious position of being taiping mp

  5. #5 by k1980 on Sunday, 22 April 2007 - 10:58 pm

    The ‘N’ in RAHMAN does not stand for Najib BUT for Nori’s hubby, the great SIL of malaysia

  6. #6 by DiaperHead on Monday, 23 April 2007 - 12:42 am

    I propose sheriff the singh because that would mean I need not have to read his postings here about drinking cow’s milk with ginger! Yaaaach!

  7. #7 by undergrad2 on Monday, 23 April 2007 - 1:05 am

    It is time we dismantle this post-colonial club. The track record is dismal. It has not brought any tangible benefits to its members numbering some 50 over countries whose only connection with each other is the fact that we were once British colonies. The Commonwealth has not been able to act as a bloc in international affairs, has no influence over non-members.

    If the visits of the current Secretary-General of the Commonwealth are any indication, the choice would probably be between candidates from Singapore or Malaysia. The honors would likely go to someone from this city-state.

  8. #8 by pamelaoda on Monday, 23 April 2007 - 1:45 pm

    Dear Diaperhead and sheriff Singh,

    What is this cow milk wiz ginger’s drink abou?

  9. #9 by DiaperHead on Monday, 23 April 2007 - 7:12 pm

    Oh! It is a concoction that Sheriff the Singh prefers next to his mother’s milk.

  10. #10 by pamelaoda on Monday, 23 April 2007 - 8:54 pm

    Don know what to say la…

  11. #11 by ihavesomethingtosay on Tuesday, 24 April 2007 - 9:58 pm

    I nominate Kerismudin, so he might make keris waving world famous

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