Ambassador from Malaysia: Who Is Othman Hashim?
The Southeast Asian nation of Malaysia has sent a career diplomat to serve as its next ambassador to the United States, replacing a political appointee, Datuk Seri Dr. Jamaluddin Jarjis, who served in Washington for two-and-a-half years. (“Datuk” and “Datuk Seri” are honorific titles bestowed by the Malaysian government.) Datuk Othman Hashim, who presented his credentials to President Obama on May 2, 2012, has made attracting more American investment in Malaysia one of his main goals. In 2011, U.S. imports from Malaysia came to $25.7 billion, with semiconductors, computer parts and telecommunications equipment accounting for half the total. U.S. exports to Malaysia totaled $14.2 billion, yielding a trade deficit of $11.5 billion.
Born September 27, 1954, Othman received a degree in economics from the University of Malaya in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, and is a career member of Malaysia’s Foreign Service.
Othman was appointed to administrative and diplomatic service of Malaysia on November 26, 1979. He was named second secretary at the embassy of Malaysia in Bucharest, Romania, three years later and in 1985 was promoted to assistant secretary in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. In 1988, Othman headed for Berne, Switzerland, where he became first secretary at the Malaysian embassy. He stayed three years before being named principal assistant secretary for Southeast Asia in the foreign ministry.
In 1994, Othman was U.N. resident coordinator and representative of the United Nations Development Program in Palestine. Two years later, he began service as counselor and deputy chief of mission at the Malaysian embassy in Beijing, China. He spent 1999 participating in the Royal College of Defence Studies Course in the United Kingdom before being named under-secretary for policy planning in the foreign ministry.
Othman was named ambassador to the Czech Republic in January 2002 and in June 2005 became deputy secretary for general management services in the foreign ministry. Within months he was named the foreign ministry’s deputy secretary of general bilateral affairs.
Prior to his appointment as ambassador to the United States, Othman served as Malaysia’s permanent representative to the United Nations in Geneva, Switzerland, from January 2009 until March 2012. He was said to be the only diplomat considered to replace Dr. Jamaluddin, who will serve as special envoy to the U.S. while retaining his ministerial rank.
Othman is married to Datin Rohayazam Kamaruzaman. They had three children, one of whom, Firdhaus, died in a car accident in Kuala Lampur in 2008.
-Matt Bewig and Ken Broder
Othman Picked as Envoy to US (by Paul Gabriel, The Star-Malaysia)
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