Something good has come out of the Malaysian government’s decision not to go ahead with Noramly’s nomination as Director General of the UN International Atomic Energy Agency ( a decision that has nothing whatsoever to do with him or his competency or experience or anything of the things that you might think would count).

We have found out how many supporters/friends he actually has – people who are dismayed that he wasn’t given a chance. People who knew he would make an excellent Director General. There has been a flood of emails from all over the world – from USA to Latin America, Australia to Europe, from one of Japan’s top nuclear scientists, from other Asian countries, from the Middle East, from people who worked for him in the Agency before, from people who work there now.

He is truly an international scientist of stature and it’s good to know that there are so many people in the field who still believe in him.



  1. So sorry to hear that Noramly isn’t being nominated. It sounds like another poor call by the Malaysian government.

  2. That must be wonderful to know how respected he is and what the international community think of him even if the Malaysian Government made a bad call. Maybe you should send them copies of all these letters of support.

  3. It’s a pity your husband didn’t get nominated. However, I’ve done my research on the IAEA website and apparently only the 35 Members of the Board of Governors get to vote, which I think is a bit unfair and it is the governments of these countries that do the vote.

    A cursory look at the current Members of the Board alarmed me further because it is lopsided in favour of the European and western nations – also very unfair to my mind. I also found out that to be successful, a candidate needs at least two thirds of the votes which means you have to get 24 votes out of the 35 in the Board of Governors – no mean task for a candidate from a developing country like Malaysia.

    As a wife myself I nevertheless fully sympathise with your predicament and wish your husband all the best in his future endeavours.

  4. Paulina – you impressed Noramly! That you would go and get the facts…!

    Certainly the hierarchy of all UN agencies and the Security Council are weighted towards some countries and not others. The reason is simple – he who pays the piper wants to make sure the piper plays the right tune. Developed nations don’t want to see misuse of their funds, and therefore they want to have a part in overseeing the agency involved. Certain posts are reserved for them.

    The miracle is that the system – more often than not – works. The IAEA in particular has a great record of dedicated staff, good management and many achievements.

    The present Director General, coming up for retirement soon, is from Egypt. In fact, he was on my husband’s staff when Noramly was the Deputy Director General in charge of technical cooperation (for over 6 years).

    With IAEA, competence is everything, and that is the way it should be, especially in the nuclear arena. I am hopeful that the Board will find a good DG based on all the important things.

    Perhaps this IAEA election will be an example for some of our political leaders …

  5. It’s always sad to see a good man passed over for whatever reasons, but it’s obvious that Noramly’s family, friends and colleagues know his worth, and that’s where appreciation counts most, isn’t it?

  6. I agree with Paulina that the election for the DG of IAEA is a bit unfair. Ho come only 35 members of the so-called IAEA Board are eligible to vote whereas there are 146 states that are members of IAEA. Isn’t it time for member states to call for reform of the organisation since it is the world’s centre of cooperation in the nuclear field. Peaceful uses of nuclear technology should not be the monopoly of few. Anyways, I would like to wish your husband all the best and hopefully some day there will be some one from the developing world assuming the post of IAEA DG.

  7. Anon – there are a few posts on the Board which are reserved for the more “important” nations, for the reasons I mentioned in my other comment, and also because there is an argument that goes, “Well, now come Burkina Faso should have the same amount of say as the USA? (Or Russia, or China, or etc.)

    And don’t forget that the bulk of positions on the board are rotated. Sooner or later, every country gets to serve, and to have a say in policy decisions, just as they do on, say, the UN Security Council (although I think the method of rotation there may be a little different).

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