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JJ to be ambassador to US

Posted in Uncategorized by malaysiasms on May 6, 2009

The Malaysian Insider

KUALA LUMPUR, May 6 — A former minister is set to be appointed Malaysia’s ambassador to the United States, a move which indicates that the Najib administration is looking to upgrade its relations with the Obama administration.

The appointment, which is being vetted by the US State Department, could also raise questions about Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak’s appetite to keep controversial individuals away from his administration.

Government sources told The Malaysian Insider that Datuk Seri Jamaludin Jarjis will enjoy the status of a minister in his new appointment.

A close friend of the PM, he was passed over for a Cabinet position because of concerns that he was carrying too much baggage.

He was accused and cleared of sexual harassment as well as criticised for comments made about Malaysian Indians while on a trip to the United States a couple of years ago. But all along there has been speculation that the MP for Rompin and former Science, Technology and Innovation Minister would be rewarded with a senior position in a government-linked company or as a special envoy of the government.

The reason being put forward for his nomination to be ambassador is that he has a “good network” in the US.

A former Second Finance Minister and Minister of Domestic Trade and Consumer Affairs, he is best known for the country’s Angkasawan programme, a project which brought pride to the country but also raised questions on the wisdom of spending millions of ringgit on a project with no tangible benefits to the public.

Several days ago, blogger Raja Petra Kamarudin alleged that Jamaludin tried to make a deal with him, asking the former to stop linking Najib and his wife to the murder of Mongolian model Altantuya Shariibuu.

RPK, as he is popularly known, alleged that he met Jamaludin at a car park at the Lake Gardens in Kuala Lumpur, and they drove to a roadside stall in Jalan Ipoh.

Raja Petra said that he did not make the deal. The blogger was charged with sedition for his posting “Let’s send Altantuya murderers to hell”, but he failed to turn up in court last month. Jamaludin has yet to comment on the allegation.

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