12:36pm 18/05/2022
Tajuddin’s diplomatic blunder
By:Mariam Mokhtar

Many Malaysians will agree that the appointment of Tajuddin Abdul Rahman as the Malaysian ambassador to Indonesia is a diplomatic blunder, although Ismail Sabri Yaakob and the bureaucrats in Putrajaya may think otherwise.

Why did Ismail risk the unique relationship we share with Indonesia?

Anyone contemplating a career in foreign service, or as a diplomat, needs to be of high integrity and have good judgment.

His communication skills should be of a high standard and he must be able to communicate effectively, both orally and in writing.

He should also master at least one foreign language and in his career, may have to learn several other languages.

He should possess strong analytical, leadership and organizational skills.

So, why was Ismail badly advised when Tajuddin became our man in Jakarta?

Tajuddin lacks the finer points of decent behavior. As ambassador, his duty is to represent the country, but his lack of control over his emotions is potentially embarrassing and extremely damaging. He may risk the cordial relations we have with our neighbor that has taken decades of genuine diplomacy to nurture.

Over many decades, Malaysians were appalled by Tajuddin’s behavior as MP of Pasir Salak.

He lacks diplomatic skills and becoming an ambassador is an insult to many Malaysians.

The appointment also paints a picture that the leadership in Putrajaya is clueless and insensitive to the needs of both Malaysia and Indonesia.

Tajuddin’s track record of racist rants, sexist comments and tantrums in parliament is well documented in many press reports of both mainstream and alternative media.

So, why is he being rewarded for bad behavior with this diplomatic post?

Why were senior career diplomats who are well versed in foreign relations and who have probably majored in international relations, foreign policy, cultural anthropology or sociology, and political science ignored? Did no one care to advise Ismail?

Tajuddin is a bully and time waster. He does not just bring shame to himself, but also to his party, his family and his race.

He is so arrogant and does not care when he shows utter contempt for parliament.

Why was Ismail badly advised when Tajuddin became our man in Jakarta?

His awful behavior can be seen in one of many altercations in the Dewan Rakyat.

In July 2019, Tajuddin asked the then deputy agriculture and agro-based industry minister Sim Tze Tzin about the cash crop program for farmers.

Dissatisfied with the deputy’s response, Tajuddin demanded that the minister Salahuddin Ayub provide the answer.

When deputy speaker Nga Kor Ming intervened, Tajuddin became obstructive and embarked on a prolonged slanging match against Nga by repeatedly interrupting parliament’s “question time”.

When Nga finally ordered Tajuddin to leave the Dewan Rakyat, he attacked the deputy speaker by saying his face was like a communist.

Why should we tolerate MPs who behave like thugs in parliament?

What if in his new role as ambassador Tajuddin lets rip and risks upsetting the Indonesians? He appears to easily lose control of his emotions!

Anyone who observes parliamentary proceedings from the viewing chamber would have been appalled by Tajuddin’s antics. He sends out the wrong message to children or young adults who may have seen him on television.

Why should we be surprised? Tajuddin is a career politician, and his behavior is symptomatic of most of Umno-Baru politicians’ intransigence and arrogance.

One social political observer said, “We do not need to be reminded that the former chairman of Prasarana is foul-mouthed and shoots from the lips before getting his thoughts in order.

What was Ismail thinking by appointing Tajuddin as ambassador? One only has to look at his past performance in Prasarana and other GLCs like Felcra to know that his track record is terrible.”

Another said, “Why can’t we have a more dynamic person, someone who is younger and not tainted with allegations of racism and corruption?”

This appointment has exposed Ismail’s poor leadership. It looks as if he is rewarding politicians who support him with plum positions. It does not look like he values meritocracy or good performance.

Tajuddin was sacked as chairman of Prasarana. Making him an ambassador is like he is rewarding failure.

People like Tajuddin also give Muslims a bad name.

On the eve of the Sungai Kandis by-election a few years ago, he told a Malay crowd of around 100 people in Kampung Jawa not to support a “Christian-led” Pakatan government.

He lied about a video which featured Christian pastors celebrating Harapan’s victory at GE14. This video did not exist. He lied to influence the vote.

Tajuddin’s sexist credentials were completely overlooked by Ismail, when he chose him to be our ambassador to Indonesia.

He should recall how in February 2017 Tajuddin referred to Teresa Kok, the MP for Seputeh, as “the only woman with a kok”.

Like father, like son. So when MP Khalid Samad called Tajuddin “sial” for making these crude and sexist remarks against Teresa and for refusing to apologize for being sexist, Tajuddin’s son then caused a riot in parliament, while trying to defend his father’s name.

The punishment for causing mayhem in parliament was a mere RM100 fine!

Malaysians abhor rude and crude behavior from their MPs, but the real pity is that the top brass of Umno-Baru refused to punish their senior politicians!

So, instead of doing the right thing, Ismail has rewarded thuggish behavior by making Tajuddin an ambassador. What is happening in the foreign ministry?


  1. Malaysiakini: Tajuddin confirms appointment as ambassador to Indonesia

(Mariam Mokhtar is a Freelance Writer.)


Mariam Mokhtar
Tajuddin Abdul Rahman


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