Use the internet wisely!

(The Nut Graph) THE recently unveiled website of Datin Paduka Seri Rosmah Mansor was designed to gift Malaysians with the opportunity to get to know our dear first lady better:

"As a wife, I always accompany the Prime Minister to official functions … We feel that it is a very good idea so that people will be able to know about the things that I do, my qualifications and the associations and organisations I'm involved in," Rosmah said at the launch of her website.

Three items to note:

The colour theme of Rosmah's site, while pink by default, may be changed; there are five different themes. This function works perfectly.

As a nod towards multiculturalism, the site links to automatic translators, from Chinese to French to Russian — but Tamil language services, according to the disclaimer, are sadly unavailable. This function works, depending on whether the text is in English or Malay (English gets translated, Malay doesn't).

Finally, the site's presence on the PM's Office official website proves Rosmah's stature as a certified arm of government. Rosmah says that the wives of presidents and prime ministers abroad, like Michelle Obama, already have their own websites. Though, as Niki Cheong points out, Mrs Obama only has an eight-paragraph bio on the White House page, not an entire microsite.

When asked whether her new instrument to "hear the heartbeat of the people" could receive public feedback, Rosmah answered, "We don't have that facility yet."

Politicians' spouses riding on the cyber-shoulders of their elected significant others aren't that uncommon. Just take Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim, consort to Parti Keadilan Rakyat (PKR) president Datuk Seri Dr Wan Azizah Wan Ismail, who had a huge online following before he become opposition leader. One gains some real power this way.

Regardless, I was amused to watch others walking in Rosmah's footsteps. Not even a week after the PM's wife launched her portal, Datin Seri Lestari Rahman, the wife of Absolute Authority Minister Datuk Seri Wan Azhad Karim, also launched a website,, so that Malaysians would have the opportunity to know her better:

"I've discussed this with administrators from the ministry, as well as officers of the Special Branch," said Lestari at the launch. "We feel that this is good for people to know about the things I do, my qualifications, and my hobbies.

"It will also show a softer side to the ministry, to counter those from the opposition who like to paint my husband and I in a negative light," Lestari added, referring to rumours that implicate Wan Azhad in the death of a Czech gymnast.

When asked about the fact that the website was publicly funded, Lestari defended herself by stressing that as a spouse of a minister, "I am automatically part of the Malaysian government."

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