The Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA) has confirmed that two senior diplomats in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) were ordered home because of protocol failure during the Prime Minister's visit
In a statement issued yesterday, 11 April, MOFA said the Malaysian ambassador to the UAE Datuk Mohd Tarid Sufian and the consul-general in Dubai Mohd Hasril Abdul Hamid failed to handle standard tasks for high-ranking visits abroad, particularly during Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaacob's visit to Dubai from 29 March to 31 March.
Some of the "failures" include a long wait time for the premier at the arrival hall for passport clearance by UAE immigration; no security coverage and control; as well as a lack of motorcade movement, all of which the ministry said are normal practice for the prime minister's official visits overseas.
It also stated that this set of protocols should still be arranged by the chef de mission even when officials of the host country are not present to greet the premier upon arrival.
Ismail Sabri's visit to Dubai was to attend the Expo 2020, which was held in tandem with another major event, the World Government Summit (WGS), which he was also invited to
However, MOFA said it was never notified of this.
"The top leadership of MOFA only found out about WGS on the morning of 30 March through other sources," the statement read.
Ismail Sabri had only received the invitation to the summit when he met with UAE Minister of State for International Cooperation Reem Ebrahim Al Hashimy on the same day as the summit's closing ceremony.
"If we had been informed of the summit, certainly efforts would have been made so that the prime minister could have delivered a speech at the programme."
MOFA added that the confusion would not have occurred if coordination was made earlier because the UAE government had prepared all facilities for the Prime Minister as head of government right till the end of his visit.
Ismail Sabri has accepted an invitation to deliver a keynote address at the WGS 2023 instead.
The recall of the two senior diplomats was "not unusual" and was made in consultation with the relevant parties, including the Public Service Department (JPA), the statement said
According to MOFA's website, Tarid has been serving as a Malaysian diplomat for 28 years. Overseas, he has taken posts as Second Secretary at the Embassy of Malaysia in Philippines, First Secretary at the Embassy of Malaysia in Khartoum, Sudan, and Ambassador of Malaysia in Algeria.
At the ministry, he has served in the Maritime Department, Policy Planning Division, and Europe and Central Asia Division.
He became the Ambassador of Malaysia to the UAE in September 2019.
As for Hasril, he has been working under the Malaysian Foreign Service for 18 years. He has served as the Charge d'Affaires ad interim in Pyongyang, Democratic People's Republic of Korea, as well as a counsellor of human rights issues in Malaysia's mission to the United Nations in Geneva, Switzerland.
In 2017, before being appointed as the Malaysian consul-general in Dubai, he was appointed as Director of Research and Publications Division at the Southeast Asia Regional Center for Counter Terrorism (SEARCCT) under MOFA.