PETALING JAYA: Former Sabah chief minister Tan Sri Bernard Gilik Dompok is the first Malaysian to be made a resident ambassador to the Vatican.
In a statement on Friday the Foreign Ministry said Dompok is the 83rd resident Ambassador accredited to the Vatican, concurrently with Albania and Malta.
“Malaysia was the 179th country to establish diplomatic relations with the Holy See.
“The establishment of diplomatic relations further enhances bilateral ties between Malaysia and the Holy See particularly in promoting global peace, understanding and moderation among religions through interfaith dialogues,” said the statement.
Prior to his appointment as ambassador, Bernard was a politician and served in a number of important ministerial portfolios at both State and Federal level.
“He was Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department and Plantation Industries Minister. He had also actively participated in the activities of non-governmental organisations such as the Montfort Youth Training Centre in Sabah and the Federation of Christian Mission School Council in Malaysia,” it said.
Diplomatic relations between Malaysia and the Vatican was formally established on Jul 27, 2011.