Ex-PKR man named Jakarta envoy

PUTRAJAYA - Former Bayan Baru MP Datuk Seri Zahrain Mohamed Has­him has been named as Malaysia's next ambassador to Indo­nesia, says Foreign Minister Datuk Seri Anifah Aman.

He said Zahrain was selected as he was the best person for the task.

"Zahrain's previous political affiliation and background is not a concern for the Government. As far as Wisma Putra is concerned, we try to source the best person available for a particular country and among all the candidates, one of them is him," he said at the Foreign Ministry's Hari Raya open house at Wisma Putra here yesterday.

Anifah said he would not hesitate to recommend someone deserving and who supported the Govern­ment's aspirations.

"After all, there is no reason for me to send someone as ambassador only (for him or her) to criticise the country and the Government," he said.

The current Malaysian ambas­sador to Indonesia Datuk Syed Munshe Afdza­ruddin Syed Hassan was posted there in January 2010.

Zahrain won the Bayan Baru seat on a PKR ticket in 2008, but quit the party to become an independent MP in 2010. He rejoined Umno in December last year.

Zahrain, a former Tanjong Umno division head, was appointed as the state PKR head in 2004 after he quit Umno and joined the Opposition.

On another matter, Anifah said Malaysia-US bilateral relations would not be affected should the United States go ahead with its plans to strike Syria.

While Malaysia had objected to the plans, he said this would not affect President Barack Obama's visit here next month.