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I was just telling a colleague the other day that a couple of opposition members in the current parliamentary sitting had voiced out against the recent appointment of ambassadors from the Barisan Nasional (BN) political rank. One of them is reported to be a special function officer to the Minister of Foreign Affairs who has a great say in these appointments.

The MPs contended that these people might not  be able to promote or project Malaysia in the best way in the countries that they serve. Moreover this kind of appointees might lack the knowledge and skill to learn from their experiences and bring back something worth adapting in Malaysia. To put it in a nutshell, and according to the MPs, they would only be good for “coffee and cake” interactions.

The MPs were also lamenting that career diplomats have reduced opportunities for promotion because these posts are given to retired civil servants and political cronies.

Ambassadors and High Commissioners are supposed to be neutral when dealing with Malaysians of any political persuasion in foreign land as well. Could these political appointees live up to their core duties like good civil servants?

My colleague shot back and reminded me that this is not the first time politicians are appointed as our foreign representatives overseas: remember, years ago, the late Stephen Kalong Ningkan from Sarawak and Fuad Stephen from Sabah? Though they were actually appointed as an excuse to isolate them from heated local politics of both states! How come then the appointments were never an issue?

Simple I said, because in the past we had a weak opposition due to their small numbers in parliament. Now there are many of them and obviously these younger and more articulate members from the opposition are really earning their place in the august house by bringing up matters of public interests. And of course we now also have an alternative media to express our views concerning unfair government practices.

Coming back to a strong opposition in parliament and state assemblies, gosh do we need them! They can expose unsavoury going-ons in the government, keeping them in check and we the rakyat (citizens) will, in turn, be stimulated and prompted  to think, yes, think and not just accept what are being dished out to us! We can no longer be taken for granted.

Dr Hatta Ramli - I always knew that you would be a good politician one day!

Hatta Ramli – somehow knew that you would be a spirited politician one day!

So to my friend, an ex-MCKK boy, the pleasantly argumentative, Dr Hatta Ramli an PAS MP from Kelantan though he is actually from Perak and Mahfuz Omar, an MP from Kedah I salute both of you for  doing your job to keep this government on an even keel.

I also hope the others will speak up too  and put pressure on the government representatives so that they will steer this country properly and  behave till the next GE14 by 2018 .

And indeed, Thanks God for our strong opposition!

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