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Who Is Datuk Seri Nazri Aziz And Why Are Many Hating On His Appointment As Malaysia’s Ambassador To The US?

Who Is Datuk Seri Nazri Aziz And Why Are Many Hating On His Appointment As Malaysia’s Ambassador To The US?

Nazri Aziz has been appointed as Malaysia’s ambassador to the United States, says Wisma Putra but netizens aren’t happy.

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The appointment of former Padang Rengas MP Datuk Seri Nazri Aziz as Malaysia’s ambassador to the United States raised many eyebrows as well as questions on Prime Minister Datu Seri Anwar Ibrahim’s choices.

On Feb 9 (Thursday), the Foreign Ministry said the King had presented letters of credence to Nazri and nine other new heads of diplomatic missions during an official ceremony at Istana Negara.

READ MORE: Malaysians Unhappy Nazri Aziz Is Ambassador To Most Powerful Nation On Earth

So, who is Nazri Aziz and what’s got people so riled up about his appointment?

Political Career

For starters, Nazri was the Minister of Tourism and Culture back in 2013 up till May 2018 and is also a Member of Parliament for Padang Rengas in Perak since 2004.

In 1978, he was elected to the UMNO Youth Executive Committee and became the chairman of the UMNO Youth International Affairs Bureau from 1986 to 1996. 

He then became the Chairman of the Youth Wing of Barisan Nasional (1990-994) and has been a member of the UMNO Supreme Council since 1990. 

Following that, Nazri marched on to become the Deputy Chairman of UMNO Youth in 1993 and Acting Chairman from 1994 to 1996.

In March 1993, he was appointed Chairman of Majlis Amanah Rakyat (MARA), a position he held until July 1995.

In 1991, Nazri was appointed Senator but resigned in 1995 to contest for the Chenderoh seat in the general election that year. 

Winning the election, he was appointed Deputy Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department. 

Nazri briefly became Deputy Finance Minister II, after winning the 1999 general election, before being appointed Minister of Entrepreneurial Development as a result of a cabinet reshuffle in December.

Before becoming the Minister of Tourism and Culture, he was the Minister In-charge of Legal Affairs and Judicial Reform in the Prime Minister’s Department.

Nazri Aziz also studied at the Malay College in Kuala Kangsar. He was called to the bar at Lincoln’s Inn after obtaining his law degree.

Controversies and Criticism

Just like most politicians, Nazri is no stranger to controversies and criticism involving the actions of his family as well as himself.

Back when Covid-19 had Malaysia by the throat, Nazri and his family were heavily criticised for travelling out of the country in what many netizens saw as a “holiday”.

While Nazri later cleared the air on this, it did not spare him nor his family from criticism.

Two MPs lambasted Nazri over his decision to go overseas to register his son for school, especially at a time when Malaysians are struggling to survive in the midst of the fourth wave of the Covid-19 pandemic.

They say that he should display his true Malaysian spirit by cancelling his non-essential trip and spend time with his poor constituents in the semi-urban and rural parliamentary seat of Padang Rengas in Perak.

PKR’s Fahmi Fadzil called Nazri “insensitive” for making plans to enrol his son in a school overseas, when so many children in Malaysia, especially in the rural areas, are unable to even follow basic online classes.

Klang MP Charles Santiago also rebuked Nazri over his plans.

“His decision does not speak well for a veteran political leader and former minister to abandon the country and his constituency at a time of a pandemic. He should postpone his trip and be there for his poor voters,” the DAP MP reportedly told FMT.

Nazri’s wife, Datin Seri Haflin Saiful Azhar was also heavily criticised by Malaysians for her lack of empathy towards the citizens who were suffering at that time and is famously known for her mispronunciation of the Malay word “beruk”. 

Besides that, in 2016, he was criticised for his decision of threatening to stop tourism funding from his ministry to Sabah and Sarawak if both the states did not implement a proposed tourism service tax fee of between RM5 and RM30 on each hotel room booking.

And on 16 February, 2018, Nazri said Kelantan is filled with possible tourist attractions that the state has failed to capitalise on to enrich the Kelantanese. He said even the floods which ravaged the state every monsoon season can be turned into a “volunteer tourism” opportunity.

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