Malaysian diplomat: Should heads roll?

TRACY WATKINS
Last updated 13:20 02/07/2014

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OPINION: It seems staggering that no heads have rolled over the Malaysian diplomat crisis.

It would be surprising if Foreign Affairs Minister Murray McCully and Foreign Affairs and Trade boss John Allen haven't already offered to fall on their swords.

Their handling of the response to a Malaysian diplomat being charged with attempted rape is worse than a fiasco, it is a tragedy for the alleged victim.

Prime Minister John Key has been hung out to dry over his repeated public assurances that the Government did everything in its power to have the diplomat tried in New Zealand.

The emerging story from Malaysia suggests those assurances fell short of the reality, which was that Malaysia was initially happy to waive diplomatic immunity.

McCully now concedes that "informal" discussions between New Zealand and Malaysia at the very least left Malaysia with the impression that we were happy to explore other options. These include forgoing a criminal trial in New Zealand for a military trial in Malaysia.

However, it appears that it took a call from Malaysia's foreign minister to inform McCully of that fact, which begs the question of why there was not full and frank disclosure from MFAT.

It all leaves a nasty taste in the mouth that New Zealand officials would have preferred to make the problem disappear, rather than seek justice for the alleged victim of what must have been a terrifying attack.

In non-diplomatic speak, it smacks of a coverup.

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