PSC on International Affairs to support Rais’ candidature as Commonwealth SG

An all-party Parliamentary Select Committee on International Affairs should be formed when Parliament meets next week which should have as its first task the lobby for support of other Commonwealth Parliaments for the appointment of Datuk Dr. Rais Yatim as the next Commonwealth Secretary-General.

At the April meeting of Parliament, I had first raised the issue of a Malaysian candidate for the post for Commonwealth Secretary-General to replace the incumbent Donald C. McKinnon, whose term ends in March next year.

Although two contenders have been announced before Malaysia declared its candidacy, namely Maltese Foreign Minister Michael Frendo and Indian diplomat Kamlesh Sharma, it will basically be a two-horse race for the leadership of the 53-nation organization in view of the general understanding that it’s Asia’s turn to hold the post.

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

1. Arnold Smith (Canada) 1965 — 1975. (10 yrs)
2. Shridath Ramphal (Guyana) 1975 — 1990. (15 yrs)
3. Chief Emeka Anyaoku (Nigeria) 1990 — 1999. (9 yrs)
4. Don McKinnon (New Zealand) 1999 — 2007. (9 years)

The appointment of Rais as Commonwealth Secretary-General will not only be an international credit for Malaysia, but will be good for the country’s future as a full player on the global stage, whether on the great issues of war and peace, democracy, human rights, inter-civilisational and inter-religious dialogue, development or environment.

As the new Commonwealth secretary general will be decided at the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting in Kampala in November, there is very little time left to promote Rais’ candidacy to ensure the appointment of a Malaysian to be the chief executive officer of the Commonwealth Secretariat, the main inter-governmental agency of the Commonwealth.

Ideally, consensus should be secured among Asian Commonwealth nations in endorsing Rais’ candidature, which would mean securing the support of the Indian Government to withdraw its candidature to give way to Rais Yatim.

I will discuss with the Deputy Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Najib Razak in Parliament on Monday whether the government is prepared to support the establishment of a Parliamentary Select Committee on International Affairs, preferably by way of a parliamentary motion before the end of the month.

  1. #1 by ENDANGERED HORNBILL on Tuesday, 12 June 2007 - 11:15 am

    This should place Malaysia on the map. It’s good for the country. It’ll also serve as a check and balance for Malaysia so that the nation’s walk will square with the talk of the nation’s rep at the Commonwealth. No doublespeak!

  2. #2 by Taikor on Tuesday, 12 June 2007 - 11:29 am

    I’d place my bet on India…

  3. #3 by undergrad2 on Tuesday, 12 June 2007 - 11:49 am

    I think the Commonwealth is an anachronism. It is nothing more than a social club kept together by the fact the members were at one time ruled by Britain.

    It should be disbanded.

  4. #4 by k1980 on Tuesday, 12 June 2007 - 11:56 am

    Very good. Now Rais Yatim will get the chance to tell Commonwealth member states to implement the racist discriminatory NEP onto their minorities

  5. #5 by sheriff singh on Tuesday, 12 June 2007 - 12:49 pm

    A flip-flop candidate from Malaysia will not do us justice.

    We just want a high profile, glamourous position, that’s all.

    And we will say, its Visit Malaysia Year 2007, our 50th Anniversary of Independence. We have Islam Hadhari. Our people live in peace and harmony etc etc. Please give us the post.

    What does Malaysia really have to offer the Commonwealth?

    Perhaps Mugabe or good African friend can help lobby for us.

  6. #6 by sheriff singh on Tuesday, 12 June 2007 - 8:11 pm

    It could also be Europe’s turn. You know, Malta, Cyprus, Gibraltar or even mother England.

    Tony Blair needs a job.

  7. #7 by good coolie on Thursday, 14 June 2007 - 4:14 pm

    Malaysia will be in a good position to explain whether there is freedom to worship in Malaysia. We will tell the international community that there is freedom of worship (That Lina girl ought to have gone to the Syariah court for the certificate recognising her conversion to Christianity). Who said that she would be arrested for her conversion to Christianity? The local re-education course(a la Vietnam or a la Gulag Archipelago)? – “No such thing exists”, Rais Yatim would say to that moribund club. And he will be believed!

  8. #8 by shortie kiasu on Thursday, 14 June 2007 - 4:42 pm

    Go ahead and nominate a capable and deserving candidate to represent the country. If we do not have one of international stature, then do not make a mockery of ourselves, nominating for the sake of nominating.

    Does Rais Yatim have that international stature?

    Has he served in any international bodies with distinction?

    We have not heard about or read about him on that score.

You must be logged in to post a comment.