KUALA LUMPUR: Receptions hosted by foreign missions here are no longer a mundane affair with many among the new Cabinet ministers livening things up.
Besides the ministers assigned to attend as official representatives of the new Federal Government, they are being joined by other Cabinet colleagues out to forge links with the foreign missions.
With almost 100 foreign missions based here, Kuala Lumpur’s diplomatic cocktail circuit is a hectic one with frequent gatherings.
Under the previous government, the main guest assigned was usually a deputy minister, with a Cabinet member assigned by Wisma Putra mainly for National Day events of Asean countries and the grouping’s dialogue partners.
At the US Independence Day reception here on July 3, Economic Affairs Minister Datuk Seri Azmin Ali was at hand to propose the toast to Ambassador Kamala Shirin Lakhdhir at J.W. Marriot Hotel here.
Joining him at the packed ballroom were Primary Industries Minister Teresa Kok and Human Resources Minister M. Kulasegaran.
Over at the Philippine National Day reception on June 28, Transport Minister Anthony Loke was a “hit” with guests.
And at Italy’s do on Thursday, Federal Territories Minister Khalid Samad was the official guest.
He was joined by Communica-tions and Multimedia Minister Gobind Singh Deo.
Shearn Delamore legal consultant S. Radhakrishnan, who has been attending diplomatic events for about 40 years, said it was refreshing to see members of the new Pakatan Harapan administration make time to meet diplomats, corporate and business leaders and NGO representatives at the receptions.
He recalled an incident in the past when a deputy minister assigned to a Croatian reception did not turn up, forcing the embarrassed ambassador to conduct the toasting ceremony all by himself.
“Things have changed so much these days. The US threw a huge reception and guests were rubbing shoulders with the new ministers who were very happy to mingle.
“There was thunderous applause when Ambassador Lakhdhir toasted the recent smooth transition of power in Malaysia,’’ he added.
Radhakrishnan said he hoped new Foreign Minister Datuk Saifuddin Abdullah would set a “high standard” in promoting diplomacy in line with Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad’s policy of befriending all nations.
Wisma Putra secretary-general Datuk Seri Ramlan Ibrahim said the higher number of ministers turning up at the receptions was a positive sign.
“It will help to enhance our image besides that of the host nation as well,” he added.
At this evening’s Argentinian reception, Health Minister Dr Dzulkefly Ahmad will be the special guest.