Malaysian Ambassador to US – why Ghazzali and JJ on the short-list?

Foreign Minister Datuk Anifah Aman told the Sunday Star yesterday that former Ambassador to the United States 1999 – 2005, Tan Sri Ghazzali Sheikh Abdul Khalid is among the four persons being considered for the plum post of ambassador to the United States.

Anifah, who said he would submit the shortlist to the Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak within a week, expressed “shock” that the Washington posting had not been filled for about a year when the US is the country’s biggest trading partner.

In announcing that Ghazzali is in the short-list of four persons for the top-notch dipolomatic posting to be submitted to the Prime Minister, Anifah has gone against his public claim that he would get the best people to serve the country in the various diplomatic postings abroad.

Anifah cannot be so naïve as not to know the reason why the post of Malaysian Ambassador to the US had been vacant since June 20 last year after the retirement of Datuk Rajmah Hussain, a career diplomat, or he is casting aspersion on the competence and professionalism of his predecessor as Foreign Minister, Datuk Seri Dr. Rais Yatim.

Although Anifah conspicuously refused to be reappointed Deputy Minister after the March 8 general election last year on the ground that he was senior enough to be made minister, he had previously been Deputy Minister for Plantation Industries and Commodities and had traveled extensively to Latin America, Europe, America, Africa and Asean and together with his political connections would have been privy to all the diplomatic grapevine about the strong Wisma Putra and Washington objections to Ghazzali’s re-apppointment as Ambassador to US under two Foreign Ministers, Datuk Seri Syed Hamid Albar and Rais despite support from the Putrajaya fourth floor.

Ghazzali was Malaysian Ambassador to US from 1999 to 2005 and left Washington under a cloud because of his connections to former Republican Party lobbyist Jack Abramoff as well as his role in the persecution of Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim.

It was during Ghazzali’s previous tour of duty that the Malaysian Embassy in Washington delivered 1.2 million dollars to Abramoff to procure a 30 minute meeting in the White House between Prime Minister Tun Mahathir Mohamad and President George W. Bush in 2002.

Abramoff was sentenced to five years and 10 months in prison in 2006 after pleading guilty to fraud, tax evasion and conspiracy to bribe public officials.

Although Wisma Putra decided to terminate Ghazzali’s term as Ambassador to US in 2004, Khairy Jamaluddin’s influence prevailed and he was given further extensions of his appointment.

Ghazzali attempted to obtain yet another extension at the end of 2005 but failed. He was retired at the end of 2005 but given a post as special envoy for the proposed US-Malaysia Free Trade Agreement with an office in Wisma Putra.

In early 2008, with the impending retirement of Rajmah as Ambassador to US, a new lobby campaign begun for Ghazzali’s re-appointment to this plum post, in the teeth of strong objections from the career diplomats in Wisma Putra as well as great reservations in Washington – spanning three Foreign Ministers, Hamid, Rais and now Anifah.

Many bloggers have expressed great concern as to whether Malaysia’s national interests and international reputation would be served by Ghazzali’s re-appointment to the plum diplomatic post in Washington considering his controversial and even scandalous past.

Former US Ambassador to Malaysia, John Mallot, have even gone on public record in August 2008 with the following statement:

“In March 2006 I wrote in Malaysiakini about the illegal activities of Jack Abramoff and his connection to the Malaysian Embassy and Mahathir Government.

”There is no doubt in my mind that what the Malaysian Embassy did with Abramoff violated US laws. Diplomats cannot be arrested or prosecuted, but they still must obey the laws of the country to which they are assigned.

“What Ghazzali and his Embassy did was to collude with Abramoff to ‘hide the hand’ of the Malaysian Government and avoid the legal requirements of the Foreign Agents Registration Act. Abramoff and his colleagues were working on behalf of the Malaysian Government and certain Malaysian business people to influence American opinion, so they were required to register as foreign agents.

“But Abramoff did not follow the law. He had the Embassy send the money to the ghost think tank, which was really just a beach house in Delaware. The money was then sent back to Abramoff and his associates, with the so-called think tank listed as the client, not the Malaysian Embassy. In effect, this was money laundering. It is impossible for Ghazzali to deny that he had any knowledge or role in this. Hundreds of thousands of dollars were transferred from the Embassy to the bogus think tank.

“A final point. No country can send someone as Ambassador unless the other country agrees to accept them. So even if it is true that Ghazzali has convinced some people in KL that he should return as Ambassador to Washington, the US Government must agree to this. I hope that the Malaysian Government does not embarrass itself by putting forward Ghazzali’s name.”

With such a controversial background, why is Ghazzali still in Anifah’s short-list?

Anifah should explain why Ghazzali is on the short-list to be re-appointed as Ambassador to the United States despite his controversial diplomatic past, involvement in the Abramoff scandal and strong objections in Washington

One of the first questions I will ask in next month’s parliamentary meeting starting on June 15 is for the names and reasons for the short-list for appointment as Ambassador to US, and why Ghazzali, as well as Datuk Seri Jarjis Jamaluddin who was dropped from the Cabinet in the last two Cabinet reshuffles, are still deemed fit to get into the shortlist.

  1. #1 by Godfather on Monday, 25 May 2009 - 7:48 am

    “….why Ghazzali, as well as Datuk Seri Jarjis Jamaluddin who was dropped from the Cabinet in the last two Cabinet reshuffles, are still deemed fit to get into the blacklist.”

    You mean shortlist, don’t you ? These clowns are already on our blacklist. In fact, I’d be surprised if Ghazzali isn’t a wanted man in Washington DC.

    [Tks. corrected.]

  2. #2 by Godfather on Monday, 25 May 2009 - 7:51 am

    It’s a question of who Najib owes more to. JJ has been a loyal supporter, carrying bags and other “stuff”. Ghazzali is brother-in-law of diam diam Daim. This whole shortlist thing is a smokescreen. Diplomatic sources say that the decision has already been made.

  3. #3 by DAP man on Monday, 25 May 2009 - 8:20 am

    He wants JJ to raba-raba some western chicks bums instead of local ones.
    Funny, in Malaysia, morality and integrity are non-issues when it comes to important appointments.

  4. #4 by chengho on Monday, 25 May 2009 - 8:37 am

    DAP man,

    what morality issue? Malaysian are more liberal than the US ,we have Eli , Chua and AI ……

  5. #5 by pulau_sibu on Monday, 25 May 2009 - 9:04 am

    This guy has black mailed BN by refusing a deputy minister job. Now he is given a full ministerial position. Thanks Anwar for mentioning about defection of BN politicians to PR, and he must be viewed as one of those who may defect. He got what he wanted.

    Along the same line, the AV MCA vice president made the same noise in public about possibility of joining the PR. Now he is given a strange position crossing all praties in BN. Will he switch now or he will just stay on power in BN but without a minister position.

    Unethical politicians not just jump, but they used the rival party to gain the maximum advantage.

  6. #6 by the reds on Monday, 25 May 2009 - 9:10 am

    In BN, cronyism rules! Malaysia Boleh!!!

  7. #7 by kerishamuddinitis on Monday, 25 May 2009 - 9:23 am

    Oh my word, this is 1Malaysia:

    – we can only scrape together 1 ass-groping womaniser and 1 money-laundering small time dickhead bafia (bumiputera mafia) as Malaysian Ambassador candidates to the US! No wonder we have such a team – the fish is rotten from the head! And the head is worse than these 2 put together…womanising, bribery, corruption, woman obliteration, human rights violations, power grab, rape of the judiciary…what do they care anyway, really? The Rakyat can do nothing…so far.

    – and we have US representatives telling us publicly albeit politely that the Malaysia gomen should NOT embarrass it self by sending the bafia character Ghazz-The-Arze, launderer extraordinaire, ‘hide-the-hand’ maestro of the Malaysian gomen, representative of a leader no other state leaders want to shake hand with or be photographed next to…to avoid risking captions like ‘US President, Obama is seen here shaking hands with the alleged mastermind….’

    – and we have porcine imbeciles like chengho who can’t differentiate between international condemnation and embarassment and international reprimanding of our Malaysian gomen due to the action of ‘immune’ criminals like Mat Tahi and now Ghazz-The-Arze, and the politically-enginered fabrications
    meant to discredit the target and tarnish the public image of the victim.

    Oh, I insulted the PIG when I called chengho a porcine imbecile – the PIG is better than this particular person. Pigs are smart – this one is a pig only because chengho chooses to wallow in the mud of Born Nincompoops and Utterly Moronic Nincompoop Organisation.

  8. #8 by Tonberry on Monday, 25 May 2009 - 10:29 am

    Najib is a smart guy. He will send JJ away so that the guy will not fight for “food” with Najib in Bolehland. What JJ does with his roving hands in US later is none of Najib’s main concern anymore. JJ can raba-raba from dawn till night as he likes.

  9. #9 by boh-liao on Monday, 25 May 2009 - 11:04 am

    When u r in the inner circle
    surrounded by layers of onion skin
    u r rewarded

    When u know a lot or too much sensitive secrets
    u r also rewarded
    by being posted far way

  10. #10 by sheriff singh on Monday, 25 May 2009 - 11:13 am

    “… why is Ghazzali still in Anifah’s short-list?” Trick question. Potential answers.

    a) He has got all the “necessary and relevant experience” and connections to do a “good” job.

    b) Somebody up there in government owes him a big favour.

    c) He’s related to some big gun up there.

    d) He might know some very important information about somebody up there to use this as a bargaining chip, or else.

    e) When as ambassador previously, he was an excellent host and had given all visitors a good time and is likely to do the same.

    f) He’s somebody our boys trusts and wants him to be in Washington to give Obama and Clinton a hard time.

    g) he’s short of a few years for a green card

    h) He loves the Washington party life and wishes for deja vu.

    i) he’s a nuisance here at the Foreign Ministry with his daily antics and they just want to get rid of him and we have no embassy in Timbuktoo

    jj) somebody here don’t want JJ there

    k) somebody here absolutely don’t want Samy Vellu or Ong Ka Ting there; and definitely not Kayveas

    l) he speaks American e.g. Yo! Bro!

    mm) MM highly recommended him

    n) all of the above.

  11. #11 by yhsiew on Monday, 25 May 2009 - 12:19 pm

    Ai-ya cronyism rules mah!!!

  12. #12 by wanderer on Monday, 25 May 2009 - 12:20 pm

    In UMNO snake hole, there are hardly anyone with integrity and talent…pull out any snake it is the same difference!
    Might as well nominate Botak Syed Albar…the situation in our foreign service will not make a damn difference.

    Get Eunuch chengho, at least he has talent to lift balls!

  13. #13 by disapointed86 on Monday, 25 May 2009 - 12:52 pm

    dam this [email protected] the name of msia in the eyes of the world..with such a dumb decision..what a minister we have here in msia…come on..get some educated and fit @ss for the post…not a silly and not knowing anything person..Uncle Kit..may i remind u to post John Mallot statement to our dear foreign minister??…i was wondering if we can in future appoint a MP base on his/her IQ & EQ not only by experience or cronyism….Msia = laughing stock of the world ….

  14. #14 by Ramesh Laxman on Monday, 25 May 2009 - 1:31 pm

    YB Lim,

    Letter from US Ambassador is very clear. You can be rest assured that the US will not give its agreement’ for the appointment of Ambassador G . Please ask other questios.

  15. #15 by johnnypok on Monday, 25 May 2009 - 11:07 pm

    There are many other descent people to choose from, including several highly qualified ones from East Malaysia, especially from Sarawak (forget all the ‘frogs’ from Sabah).

  16. #16 by ekin on Tuesday, 26 May 2009 - 3:26 am

    Mr Pathetic Laksamana(Disguised) Cheng Ho AKA one of 3 stooges,

    “DAP man,

    what morality issue? Malaysian are more liberal than the US ,we have Eli , Chua and AI ……” – This is nothing compared to the person you’d forgotten to mention. Think hard, it will come to you and do us a favor, mention his name here and we will all give you a kiss!

    Of course shortlisted them so that they can shut their mouth up. Well, thats they way of cover up..

    I like the theory of onion there. Yes layer by layer uncovered but remember when you peal a layer off it, you will never able to cover that layer back. It will just a great reminder to our lovely leaders, you’ll fall and will never come back again…TATA at 13 GE!

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