Ministerial status opens doors for special envoys, says Nazri

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KUALA LUMPUR: The ministerial status given to both special envoys to India and South Asia and to China helps them to deal with those in power, to improve the relationship between Malaysia and those countries, especially in terms of investments and infrastructural development.
Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Datuk Seri Nazri Aziz said this in Parliament yesterday in reply to Batu MP Tian Chua, who had asked the prime minister to explain the envoys’ roles. Nazri said the envoys’ ministerial status gives them greater credibility and easier access to leaders.
“Both of them are given ministerial status because without it they would not be able to meet the important people in those countries who made decisions regarding the country’s affairs. If they were only sent as an ambassador, or a businessman, they would not be given the same treatment as a minister would get,” he said.

Nazri says envoys' minister-ial status gives greater cre-dibility and easier access to leader.

Nazri explained that the special envoys to India and South Asia and to China had brought in substantial amounts of investments into Malaysia through the award of contracts to Malaysian companies and vice versa.
Datuk Seri Samy Vellu served as minister of works between 1979 and 1989 and again between 1995 and 2008, losing his parliamentary constituency in the 12th general election in 2008. Tan Sri Ong Ka Ting  served as the minister of housing and local government between 1999 and 2008.
During Samy Vellu’s term as the minister of works, Nazri said, a good relationship was forged between Malaysia and India, and so the relationship should continue to be fostered.Earlier, Nazri said that the total expenditure on Samy Vellu’s work as special envoy to India and South Asia was RM373,071 in 2012, while the total expenditure on Ong as a special envoy to China was RM41,295.16.
These costs do not include the wages and allowances for both envoys. Samy Vellu is paid RM27,227.20 per month plus allowance and other official facilities. He is also provided with a senior private secretary, a special officer, two special assistants and one police escort.
Ong is paid RM20,000 per month plus allowance and other special facilities. Ong is provided with one senior private secretary and one private secretary.
“This employment is provided according to the needs of the special envoy to China, and it does not have to be the same as the needs of the special envoy to India,” said Nazri.

This article is appeared in The Edge Financial Daily 27 September, 2012.