(Harakah) - Saturday's disappointing finish for Malaysia at the men's badminton finals in London may have sinked in, but the trip to the London Olympics by the prime minister's wife has threatened to develop into another side show intensely discussed by Malaysians.
Hours before the much-awaited game that ended with Lee Chong Wei's defeat, Rosmah Mansor, wife of Najib Razak, announced that she had instructed the Malaysian embassy in London to fly Malaysian flags to show support to the national shuttler.
But despite her position as patron of the Badminton Association of Malaysia, many have questioned the need for her presence in London, with no less wanting to know how much of taxpayers' money was spent this time on her overseas trip.
For blogger Raja Petra Kamarudin, the whole issue has more to do with the well-known public dislike for Rosmah.
"Hence her trip to London is being condemned, not because she is the Patron of BAM, but because she is Rosmah Mansor. It is okay if the Patron of BAM goes to London as long as it is not Rosmah," he commented, while admitting that he had predicted Malaysia's defeat due to Rosmah's presence.
Petra contrasted the public disquiet over Rosmah's trip to the high regard Malaysians have for BAM's former patron, Dr Siti Hasmah Ali, wife of former prime minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad.
"Even those who hated Dr Mahathir did not hate Dr Siti Hasmah. Many, in fact, had high regards and loads of respect for Dr Siti Hasmah. They still do. While they may curse Dr Mahathir and pray for him to suffer a terrible death, they do not do the same to Dr Siti Hasmah," he said.
ANYTHING BUT ROSMAH? ... BAM patron Rosmah Mansor (left) and her predecessor Siti Hasmah
Petra advised Najib that Rosmah now threatened to be a liability.
"Najib Tun Razak should understand by now that the anger towards his wife is very strong and the less her name pops up in the news the better. And don’t think that if Lee Chong Wei had won gold it would have been any different," he added.
Najib had earlier told reporters that his wife had made the decision to fly to London "immediately" after Chong Wei's victory at the semi-finals.
The couple had frequently been in the limelight over their overseas trips. Last June, it was revealed their tour to three Western cities cost the government RM3 million. Despite the government's claim that the trip ended in Washington, it later admitted that the official plane carrying them had stopped in Milan, Italy, where they stopped for a vacation.