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Monday, 28 September 2015

Chinese Ambassador to Malaysia being summoned by Wisma Putra, Tourism and Culture Minister Datuk Seri Nazri Aziz has criticized Deputy Foreign Minister Reezal Naina Merican for breaking from established protocol

Nazri Ticks Off Dep Foreign Minister For Not Following Protocol In Hauling Up Chinese Ambassador Over Petaling Street Statement

Pic: StraitsTimesPic: StraitsTimes
Tourism and Culture Minister Datuk Seri Nazri Aziz has criticized Deputy Foreign Minister Reezal Naina Merican for breaking from established protocol in the widely reported allegation that the Chinese Ambassador to Malaysia had been summoned by Wisma Putra.
Nazri said that only the Prime Minister or the Foreign Affairs Minister had the authority to summon an ambassador, adding that he had spoken to acting Foreign Minister Datuk Hamzah Zainuddin who confirmed that no directive had been received to call the Chinese Ambassador Dr Huang Huikang over his press statement following his visit to Petaling Street, a local news daily reported.
Both Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak and Foreign Affairs Minister Datuk Seri Anifah Aman are currently out of the country in New York for the United Nations General Assembly and Datuk Hamzah is the official acting Foreign Minister.
When it was widely reported on Saturday, September 26 that Dr Huang had been ordered to explain his Petaling Street visit and press statement that the Chinese government is against racial discrimination and extremism, the incident threatened to strain Malaysia's diplomatic relations with China.
The Chinese Embassy had responded immediately with an official statement that Dr Huang was merely celebrating the Mid-Autumn Festival with the local community, which he often did during his visits during Chinese New Year, Hari Raya and Deepavali.
The statement also pointed out that Dr Huang chose Petaling Street to help promote it to Chinese tourists, many who have been put off travelling to Malaysia over heightened tensions from the recent street rallies which had racist undertones.
"The ambassador hoped to show Petaling Street is still a safe and attractive spot, and so is Malaysia.
"The ambassador was also happy to see there is not only Chinese traders in the Petaling Street, but also traders of other races as well," the statement noted, explaining that the comment against anyone who resorted to violence to disrupt public order was in response to a reporter's question, highlighting that Dr Huang had also stated that the Chinese government opposed terrorism and any form of discrimination and extremism.
Nazri, who has put a lot of time and effort into increasing Chinese tourists arrivals in Malaysia since he assumed the Tourism portfolio had reportedly taken steps to diffuse the gathering diplomatic storm when he met with Dr Huang last night and later explained the situation to his fellow Cabinet ministers who agreed that summoning Dr Huang to Wisma Putrajaya was unnecessary, Sin Chew Daily reports.
He also raised the possibility that the newly appointed Reezal who had assumed the Deputy Foreign Minister portfolio after July 28 cabinet reshuffle was unfamiliar with diplomatic protocol.
The Chinese Ambassador himself had expressed surprise over the alleged summon by Wisma Putra, stating that was never an issue.
"I only found out about this in the newspapers. Since when was this ever an issue?" said Dr Huang to reporters at the China-Asean Business Association (CABA) forum at the Istana Hotel in Kuala Lumpur on Monday.
Dr Huang on Friday had handed mooncakes to Petaling Street traders in conjunction with the Mid-Autumn festival which falls on Sunday, September 27. He is scheduled to meet with acting Foreign Minister Datuk Hamzah on Monday morning in Putrajaya as part of his routine official itinerary.


- mD

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