KOTA KINABALU – Former federal minister Tan Sri Bernard Dompok has been appointed to be the first Malaysian resident ambassador to the Vatican, according to several local media reports published on 26 Oct 2015. Foreign Minister Datuk Seri Anifah Aman said Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak had agreed for Dompok to be the ambassadorial candidate to the Vatican. Dompok is expected to begin his duties in January 2016 after the necessary paper work is completed, including obtaining approval from the Vatican authorities. He would be based in Rome although he will also be ambassador to Malta and Albania. Malaysia formalised relations with the Vatican in 2011 after Najib’s visit to the Vatican that year to promote Putrajaya’s push for world peace and harmony. Dompok was a member of Najib’s entourage that met Pope Benedict XVI in 2011. He also accompanied former prime minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad to the Vatican in 2002.