Bersih: MP not a part-time job, Tajuddin must quit as lawmaker to be ambassador to Indonesia

·2-min read
The electoral watchdog urged Prime Minister Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob to reconsider Datuk Seri Tajuddin Abdul Rahman’s appointment, saying Malaysia has many career diplomats who were eminently more qualified to be the country’s envoy to Indonesia. — Bernama pic
The electoral watchdog urged Prime Minister Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob to reconsider Datuk Seri Tajuddin Abdul Rahman’s appointment, saying Malaysia has many career diplomats who were eminently more qualified to be the country’s envoy to Indonesia. — Bernama pic

KUALA LUMPUR, May 18 — Umno’s Datuk Seri Tajuddin Abdul Rahman cannot perform reliably as a federal lawmaker if he is simultaneously Malaysia’s ambassador to Indonesia, the Coalition for Clean and Fair Elections (Bersih 2.0) said in criticising the appointment today.

The electoral watchdog said Tajuddin owed a duty to the constituents of Pasir Salak who elected him to be their representative, noting that the role of parliamentarian “should be treated as a main — if not full-time — job”.

“An MP must represent voters in Parliament to debate on laws and policies, on one hand, and attend to voters’ needs in the constituency, on the other hand.

“How can one perform the role and duties as MP when taking up an ambassador’s appointment which requires one’s physical presence overseas?” Bersih 2.0 said in a statement.

It urged Prime Minister Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob to reconsider Tajuddin’s appointment, saying Malaysia has many career diplomats who were eminently more qualified to be the country’s envoy to Indonesia.

Alternatively, the group said Tajuddin should resign as the MP for Pasir Salak to allow for another individual to represent the constituency.

It then said the controversial appointment made it even more crucial for “the Parliamentary Special Select Committee (PSSC) on International Affairs to be given the power to scrutinise and endorse nominees for high commissioners, ambassadors and special envoys”.

In the longer term, Bersih 2.0 suggested Malaysia consider amending its constitution to prohibit sitting MPs from holding permanent appointments in foreign missions and to require by-elections for vacancies up to six months before the end of a parliamentary term.

Currently, by-elections are not required once two thirds of a term has lapsed.

Yesterday, Tajuddin confirmed that he has been appointed as Malaysia’s ambassador to Indonesia.

His confirmation drew swift criticism from rival lawmakers and non-governmental groups who expressed concern over the PM’s choice of a confrontational politician to be Malaysia’s representative in Indonesia.

Tajuddin has been the face of controversy for many years, most recently for his press conference regarding the light rail transit (LRT) crash in KLCC when he made jokes about the situation, causing the Ministry of Finance to sack him following public outrage.

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