PETALING JAYA: Wisma Putra has responded to a Malaysian journalist based in Beijing, after she complained of being denied the opportunity to “register” herself with the Malaysian embassy in the Chinese capital last week.
The foreign affairs ministry today released a statement by Malaysia’s ambassador to China Zainuddin Yahya, who said the response followed an investigation the embassy carried out on the issue.
Confirming the initial details as written in the letter of complaint to a local daily by Natasha Hussain, Zainuddin said the main reason the guards denied her entry to the embassy compound was because she did not have her passport with her.
“She arrived at the embassy gates at 4.20pm but did not have her Malaysian passport nor a letter of appointment to meet an embassy official.
“Hence, the Wujing did not allow her in,” he said, using a term for the guards assigned by the Chinese government to all foreign embassies in the capital.
He also said if the journalist had spoken Bahasa Malaysia from the onset, instead of trying to converse in Mandarin, then there was a possibility she would have been considered for access to the embassy grounds.
“As it is, her Mandarin was not good enough for the Wujin to understand her,” Zainuddin added.
The ambassador also addressed the issue of a woman, whom Natasha claimed was an “embassy employee who came out to the compound to pick up a package”, and clarified that the said woman was not his staff.
“The woman was a Malaysian working for the Visa One Stop Centre who had stopped by the embassy for a discussion with immigration officers and was on her way out to retrieve a package.
“The writer interacted with this Malaysian, who suggested that she seek an appointment with the consular officer,” he said, adding that the woman in question had given the right advice, despite not being an embassy staff.
Zainuddin also denied that telephone calls went unanswered at the embassy, and stated that a log on incoming calls did not have any record of any missed calls from Natasha.
“However, it could be the case that she had called the number for the consular officer, who was at that time away attending to a few stranded Malaysians at the airport,” he said.
Zainuddin emphasised that Malaysians were always encouraged to register at their consulate offices abroad.
“However, they would need to register with the correct government agency as well as bring the proper documentation to verify their identity,” he said, adding that he hoped to have a positive conclusion to the matter when he meets with Natasha at the embassy today.