In last week’s column, I explained the Ministry of Foreign affairs (KLN) five achievements from August 2021-August 2022.
Today, I outline the five focuses for the coming year, which are:
Rationalization of KLN
In line with the current major challenges and with a futuristic approach, as well as with the country’s new focus, KLN in collaboration with the Public Service Department and related ministries will reorganize the Malaysian Diplomatic Missions abroad (to continue, to be closed or open new ones; appoint roving ambassadors, more honorary consuls) and their strength (grade of Head of Delegation, number of officers, assets).
Establishment of KLN language and culture diplomacy department
The aim is to facilitate the sharing of Malaysian cultural narratives (thoughts, practices and cultural arts) to enhance people-to-people relations and bring the local creative industries to the international stage.
The objective is to highlight Malaysian national values and identity, promote the Malay language and Malaysian culture, and emphasize cultural and sports relations and exchanges.
It will be implemented through the promotion and support of Malaysian arts and sports, encouraging and facilitating international educational cooperation, and liaising closely with relevant international bodies. This includes creating the position of Language and Culture attaché.
Nurturing subject matter experts
Current and future challenges demand that diplomacy is no longer driven by generalist diplomats, but increasingly requires field experts.
KLN will multiply human resource development through new initiatives, for example, increasing the number of sponsorships/scholarships for KLN officers, conducting immersion programs at home and abroad, and establishing expert groups in specific fields that combine KLN officials with outside professionals.
KLN women’s empowerment agenda
KLN will increase the efforts on women’s empowerment and gender equality by, among other things, implementing the elements of Feminist Foreign Policy (promoting values and best practices to achieve gender equality and guaranteeing all women enjoy their rights through diplomatic relations); implementing the Women, Peace and Security agenda (visibility, involvement in peace work/negotiations, protection and gender equality); Gender Responsive Budget (equal opportunities and benefits); gender balance in the appointment of Malaysian Heads of Delegation, heads of departments and divisions, delegations, committees and forum panels; and begin to plan the appointment of women to the highest positions of KLN (for example, Secretary-General and Permanent Representative to the UN).
Strengthening consular services
In order to improve services to the people in a more responsive, efficient, effective and user-friendly manner, KLN is currently developing the “e-Consular 3.0” system. among the improvements will be the online payment module, the appointment module, the push notification module and the support module.
(Datuk Seri Saifuddin Abdullah is the Minister of Foreign Affairs and Member of Parliament for Indera Mahkota.)