Male Dominated?

A group of European Union envoys met the chairman of Malaysia’s opposition alliance Pakatan Harapan (PH) Mahathir Mohamad on Thursday (Jan 25).

The two-hour meeting was held at the residence of the head of delegation of the EU to Malaysia Maria Castillo Fernández, according to the Facebook account of Abdul Kadir Jasin, a supreme council member of Tun Dr Mahathir’s political party.

Among the issues discussed were the Malaysian general election and developments surrounding the action taken by EU countries on the scandal involving state fund 1Malaysia Development Berhad, Datuk Abdul Kadir wrote.

Those present were 14 EU ambassadors and three charges d’affaires and several top opposition leaders from the four-party PH, he said.

Just one woman in the whole of Europe's line of of ambassadors to Malaysia.... or was someone absent?

Just one woman in the whole of Europe’s line of of ambassadors to Malaysia…. or was someone absent?

Our comment

The first thing that is sticks out of this photo of EU Ambassadors, brought together to meet the new leader of the opposition by the Head of the EU Delegation to Malaysia, is the scarcity of top women diplomats.

Never mind, these guys are clearly doing a good job of showing an even-handed approach towards Malaysia’s alternative political party (after all the opposition coalition got more of the popular vote at the last election than BN).

The discussion focussed on, amongst other things, 1MDB, which the EU has been forthright in condemning.  The EU Parliament has also issued a statement of forthright condemnation against Najib’s crackdown on human rights as he has sought to silence critics of corruption.

However, the gender gap did not need to be as marked as it appears from this photo, because of course the UK High Commissioner is also a woman and Britain remains of this moment a member of the EU.

There was without doubt a diplomatic excuse provided for the absence of Vicky Treadell from this significant occasion and it would of course have had nothing to do with the fact that ‘Malaysia’s best friend’ in the Conservative Party, Lord Marland is a passionate supporter of Najib Razak and is currently now in a business relationship with the former Foreign Office Minister, the Conservative MP Hugo Swire.  Both men attended Najib’s Trade Mission to London at the height of the 1MDB scandal in 2016.

The UK is now looking forward to a post-Brexit world and trying to do bilateral deals with governments like Malaysia.  Yet, their Foreign and Commonwealth Office seems to be putting all its eggs in one basket as to who will be leading that government after the next election. The British Malaysia Society (representing business interests) has also made clear that its money is on Najib – attendees at a recent address given by Treadell to such groupings in London (before Mahathir’s election to the top opposition post) report she said that Najib was certain to win.

Clearly, Dr Mahathir’s old maxim of “Buy British Last” is not to be forgiven by the current political movers and shakers behind the men in Whitehall!

Yet, one assumes that such passive gestures as not turning up to meet the new opposition leader have not gone further into any form of active interventions in favour of the human rights abuser and kleptocrat so favoured by elements of British business?

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