PKR secretary-general and Pandan Member of Parliament Rafizi Ramli Rafizi has a knack for exaggerating the unnecessary. It is so deeply ingrained in him that if one was unfamiliar with this character defect of his, one would easily believe whatever he says. Let’s take for instance Rafizi’s claim that Prime Minister Dato’ Sri Najib Tun Razak’s recent visit to the United States (US) was not an official one.
He points to the absence of certain protocols during the visit such as the usual official welcoming ceremony upon the prime minister’s arrival also known as the “flight line ceremony.” If an individual were to google the difference between state and official visit there are plenty of information on the Internet.
Quite simply a state visit would be one made by Malaysia’s Head of State, who is our YDP Agong whereas an official visit can be from a cabinet minister to the head of government. Thus the arrival of a foreign dignitary would certainly be different according to the guest’s status. It is of course subject to the host country’s discretion as well.
In fact when Iraq’s Prime Minister Haider Al-Abadi visited the US, he was not accorded the flight light ceremony upon arrival. A joint statement was also issued by both the White House and the Prime Minister’s Office, and that alone is a strong indication that the visit was official.
Rafizi had also raised the issue of the prime minister’s accommodation while in the US. He alleged that Dato’ Sri Najib would not be staying at the Blair House, which foreign leaders and top officials stay at when visiting Washington. However, according to diplomatic protocols, the host country may bear the cost of the official visit or it will be borne by the visiting party. It should come as no surprise that the prime minister chose to stay at Trump International Hotel.
Lately it has played host to a number of other foreign dignitaries and their delegation due to its close proximity to the White House. Moreover the hotel has emerged as Washington’s power center. According to the Washington Post, “Groups with foreign interests have found that the location helps attract Washington star power.”
The Prime Minister visit to the White House was a successful one. It strengthened bilateral relations in all aspects ranging from security to economic interests. President Donald Trump praised Dato’ Sri Najib’s role in regional and non-traditional security issues including Daesh, Rohingya and South China Sea.
All this contribution have been overlooked by Rafizi because he is too absorbed in criticizing the prime minister. What is Rafizi’s motivation behind all this? Perhaps with general elections looming this is merely another one of his political ploy to discredit the current government.