By T K Chua
When diplomacy experts said Prime Minister Najib Razak could bring along family members to China on an official trip, my immediate response was why the polemics and hypocrisy over the issue?
Heads of state or government are usually accompanied by their spouses and sometimes, other members of their immediate family when on official visits to other countries. Rarely does anyone takes notice or comment, much less criticise the practice.
When diplomacy experts justified family members accompanying Najib’s current visit to China, they were effectively missing the forest for the trees. This is not about China’s standard practices, Najib’s father’s contributions to China-Malaysia relations or leaders of other countries having done the same. I believe China would have extended the same courtesy to all leaders on official or state visits to their country.
The criticism by various quarters of the PM’s family accompanying him to China were, in actual fact, not directed at this particular visit per se. Surely Malaysia is able to afford such a trip. Surely China has no problem hosting the extra visitors.
I think many of us, including diplomacy experts, are just too hypocritical to say the obvious. If Najib’s family members were not involved in any controversy, I am sure this visit would have gone unnoticed.
However the whole world knows of the US Department of Justice’s lawsuit against certain individuals there. When Najib sees no issue in taking along his family members on an official visit to a very important country, it must be because he had already considered the implications and the permutations of his decision. Maybe Najib was sending a message to the right people and therefore the ensuing criticism was expected or even welcomed.
When we criticise the obvious, we are not being smart. When we try to justify the obvious, we are being hypocritical.
TK Chua is an FMT reader.