Sunday July 11, 2004

Najib: ‘Ensure Malaysians abroad are not misled’

PUTRAJAYA: Heads of missions have been directed to be more vigilant in ensuring students and citizens abroad are not misinformed by distorted messages and negative reports by local media or foreign correspondents based in Malaysia.
Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak said heads of foreign missions should ensure that Malaysians abroad, especially students, received a balanced view of events at home as the thinking and perceptions of future generations were at stake.
This, he said, was one of the more difficult challenges facing diplomats due to the rapid growth of global real-time news gathering and dissemination of information, which allowed Malaysians abroad to access information through various channels.
He said besides public diplomacy, skilful partnership with the media has become an essential quality for diplomats so that they could communicate with a wide range of audiences on the entire range of national interests and policies.
CORDIAL GREETING: Najib meeting (from left) High Comissioner to Britain Datuk Abdul Aziz Mohd, High Commissioner to Pakistan Tan Sri Jen Mat Hashim Hussien, former UN permanent representative Tan Sri Hasmy Agam and High Commissioner to Singapore Datuk N. Parameswaran in Putrajaya.
“TV talk shows, charity fund-raising dinners, interviews with newspapers, corporate lunches, university appearances and the Internet have all become important channels for projecting and presenting our interests.
“As heads of missions, it is incumbent on you to harness the power of the media and use public diplomacy to sell the Malaysian success story,” Najib said at a luncheon dialogue with Malaysian heads of foreign missions at the Putrajaya Convention Centre yesterday.
Among the success stories that should be told, he said, included the country’s success in defeating radical Islam through the ballot box and its position in the regional war against terrorism.
Najib said that as a moderate and progressive Islamic state and the current chair of the Non-Aligned Movement and the Organisation of the Islamic Conference, Malaysia could help bring back the golden age of the world community.
To do so, he said, it was important that the country not only strengthened its ties with its neighbours but also with the rest of Asia, particularly the emerging powers – China and India.
“It is also equally opportune for Malaysia to renew ties with our Western counterparts, with whom we share close social, historical and educational ties.
“Real politics also demands that we find new and constructive ways to re-engage with superpowers like the United States to enhance and protect our national interests but we must do so without abandoning our principled positions,” he added.

Parent site: "Focus on Malaysia"