PETALING JAYA: New Zealand’s Foreign Affairs Ministry chief executive John Allen has offered to resign over his ministry’s mishandling of the case of a Malaysian diplomatic aide, reports the New Zealand Herald.
Foreign Minister Murray McCully however, is said to have rejected the offer but noted that he was angry with his officials’ mistakes which led to public embarrassment for both the minister and Prime Minister John Key, the paper reported.
Warrant Officer 2 Muhammad Rizalman Ismail, who is accused of sexual assault and burglary in New Zealand, had left the country after an alleged attempt to rape a woman in Wellington.
Allen had revealed he knew nothing of the charges against WO2 Muhammad Rizalman Ismail until Friday, seven weeks after police arrested him.
The miscommunication within the ministry was apparent as McCully was also unaware that WO2 Rizalman had left New Zealand with diplomatic immunity until said date.
He has since apologised to Key and the 21-year-old woman who was allegedly assaulted by WO2 Rizalman.
Ministry officials had also given Malaysian officials mixed messages, which led them to believe New Zealand had agreed to WO2 Rizalman’s repatriation in Malaysia.
In official talks between representatives from both countries, the ministry had stated that it wanted Malaysia to waive the aide’s diplomatic immunity so he could face the charges of burglary and assault with intent to rape in New Zealand.
However, unofficial discussions conducted via emails and phone calls between mid-level officials led to this stance becoming more “ambiguous” for Malaysian officials.
As a result, Malaysia concluded that it was acceptable to New Zealand for WO2 Rizalman to return home instead of facing the charges in New Zealand, contrary to Key’s public statements.
“What is clear is that our Malaysian colleagues believed not agreeing to the waiver was a process the New Zealand government agreed with. That was clearly not the case. The ministry dropped the ball,” Allen was reported as saying.