KUALA LUMPUR, May 18 – Umno’s Datuk Seri Tajuddin Abdul Rahman cannot function reliably as a federal lawmaker if he is simultaneously Malaysia’s ambassador to Indonesia, the Coalition for Clean and Fair Elections (Bersih 2.0) has said. ) criticizing the nomination today.
The election watchdog said Tajuddin had a duty to Pasir Salak voters who elected him to be their representative, noting that the role of parliamentarian “should be treated as a main job, if not a full-time one”.
“A Member of Parliament must represent the constituents in Parliament to debate laws and policies on the one hand, and to meet the needs of the constituents in the constituency on the other.
“How to exercise the role and duties of deputy when taking up the duties of ambassador which requires a physical presence abroad? Bersih 2.0 said in a statement.
He urged Prime Minister Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob to reconsider Tajuddin’s appointment, saying Malaysia has many highly qualified career diplomats to serve as the country’s envoy to Indonesia.
Alternatively, the group said Tajuddin should step down as MP for Pasir Salak to allow someone else to represent the constituency.
He then said the controversial appointment made it even more crucial that “the Parliamentary Special Select Committee (PSSC) on International Affairs be given the power to review and approve candidates for the posts of High Commissioner, Ambassador and ‘correspondent”.
In the longer term, Bersih 2.0 suggested Malaysia consider amending its constitution to bar incumbent MPs from taking up permanent posts in foreign missions and requiring by-elections for vacancies of up to six. months before the end of a parliamentary mandate.
Currently, by-elections are not required once two-thirds of a term has elapsed.
Yesterday, Tajuddin confirmed that he had been appointed Malaysian Ambassador to Indonesia.
His confirmation quickly drew criticism from rival lawmakers and non-governmental groups who expressed concern over the prime minister’s choice of a divisive politician to be Malaysia’s representative in Indonesia.
Tajuddin has been the subject of controversy for many years, most recently for his press conference regarding the light rail transit (LRT) accident at KLCC when he made jokes about the situation, which prompted the ministry of Finance to fire him following public outrage.