The release of a critical report on the Ministry of Foreign Affairs' decision to grant immunity to a Malaysian diplomat will be put off at least until he is sentenced.

Former Malaysian defence attache Muhammed Rizalman bin Ismail pleaded guilty today to the indecent assault of Wellington woman Tania Billingsley.

His plea came 18 months after the Herald on Sunday first revealed that Mfat had let Rizalman leave the country with immunity from charges of assault with intent to rape, and burglary.

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Malaysian diplomat Muhammad Rizalman pleads guilty to indecent assault


A ministerial inquiry by former Treasury Secretary John Whitehead into Mfat's failings was completed last December.

Opposition MPs said the report should now be released.

But Acting Foreign Minister Todd McClay's office said that would have to wait until Rizalman's sentencing and any potential appeals had been completed.

The Beehive decision annoyed Labour and Green MPs, who said the findings had been held back for a year.

Labour Party foreign affairs spokesman David Shearer questioned why Mfat and Mr McCully had persisted in keeping all information on the case hidden.

"An independent review of how it was handled was announced more than a year ago, yet findings have still not been released.

"Information has been kept from Opposition MPs, media and even the Ombudsman."
Green MP Jan Logie said the Whitehead report should be released immediately, without redactions.

She said questions remained about how former Police Minister Anne Tolley and Mr McCully responded, or failed to respond, to briefings that Rizalman had been charged.


"Both ministers need to be upfront about what they knew and when," Ms Logie said.

Mr McCully has previously said that Mr Whitehead's findings were disappointing, but not surprising.

The Whitehead report made 21 recommendations for Mfat, all of which had been implemented.