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A Parliamentary Select
Committee on International Affairs should be set up with the first task of
promoting a Malaysian as the next Commonwealth Secretary-General
(Petaling Jaya, Sunday) : 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:
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.
Opposition Leader, MP for Ipoh Timur & DAP Central Policy and Strategic
Planning Commission Chairman