VETERAN: Diplomat believed to have angered his nation's foreign minister for being too sympathetic to pro-Sri Lankan Tamil groups in Malaysia
KUALA LUMPUR: SRI Lankan High Commissioner to Malaysia K. Godage has been recalled to Colombo after falling afoul of his External Affairs Ministry over a seemingly sympathetic ear to pro-Tamil Sri Lankan groups here.
The 76-year-old veteran diplomat is expected to leave for home at the end of the month, just eight months after being called out of a 15-year retirement to be posted here.
He has sent a strongly-worded letter of appeal to External Affairs Minister Prof G.L. Peiris, who is seen to be the prime mover behind his sacking by raising the matter with President Mahinda Rajapaksa.
In his letter published on a blog called dbsjeyaraj.com, Godage said he "cannot quite believe it that you, of all people, had me 'recalled'.
"(I) Trust you would recall what I wrote about you when you took over from Rohitha Bogollagama. Yes, I was delighted because I expected you to bring a professional approach to diplomacy and to the management of our foreign relations,'' he wrote.
Godage told Peiris that he had come out of retirement to serve "as I felt that I could yet be of service to our country".
He said his recall was both "unjust and unfair, and certainly not what I ever expected". In an immediate response, Godage confirmed that he had been recalled on short notice.
It is learnt that Peiris had taken exception to Godage's remarks at a recent meeting of Sri Lankan envoys in Colombo, where the envoy had asked for answers to questions posed by pro-Sri Lankan Tamil Malaysian groups on what was being done for Sri Lankan Tamils.
He declined to elaborate but said he would be leaving for Colombo at the end of the month after tying up loose ends at the high commission.
The seasoned envoy and former political columnist in The Island newspaper is believed to have agreed to come to Malaysia as he was aware of the problem here, and felt he could help in Sri Lanka-Malaysia relations as he spoke some Tamil.
Godage is the second Sri Lankan High Commissioner to be recalled in eight years, the first being Rosy Senanayake, who was recalled after a change of government in 2004.
He can be credited with many achievements since his arrival in January this year, including reviving the Sri Lanka-Malaysia Joint Commission and the relationship with the Malaysian Agricultural Research and Development Institute.
He also managed to get the Malaysian National Institute of Public Administration to agree to train Sri Lankan civil servants.