Najib needs to control Rosmah

(Malaysia Chronicle) – Prime Minister Najib Razak needs to control his wife Rosmah Mansor, said PKR women’s chief Zuraida Kamaruddin who accused the ‘First Lady’ of being a bad role model who increased the uncomplimentary perception of women being manipulative yet fluffy-minded and decorative pieces intent on shopping pleasure.

“It is not just a matter of setting a bad example as a Muslim woman who has to make a lot public appearances but overall. We encourage women to be ambitious, to go for it. But Rosmah is over the limit,” Zuraida told Malaysia Chronicle in a recent interview.

Zuraida, who is the Member of Parliament for Ampang, was unhappy because Rosmah has spent little of her time advancing women’s causes or at least nudging women’s issues along the right direction.

According to Zuraida, Malaysian women ranked 101 out of 130 countries in the global gender index, and Rosmah, who holds a Master’s degree, should help in the battle for a more level playing field.

“But she’s not doing any of this. Umno is fond of saying 43 per cent of the workforce are women, but at what level? Do they search below the surface? Why isn’t Rosmah using her influence to engage with Women’s minister, Shahrizat Jalil? Of course not to the extent she takes over the ministry but she can help promote more worthwhile programs and researches,” said Zuraida.

“Women’s rights should not just be about opening ceremonies, cutting ribbons, flower decoration shows and visiting children’s home. It must also include taking the trouble to study and understand the social issues and the problems involved, and above all, put in place programs that offer long-term solutions and not blow quickie kisses or keep giving ang-pows.”

How many millions have been spent

Indeed the 60-year old Rosmah, who’s two years older than Najib, has attracted controversy even before her husband took over the premiership.

She has been accused of being one of the masterminds behind the 2006 Altantuya Shaariibuu murder and although she has denied any involvement, the rumour mills continue to churn.  Even now, many Malaysians are unhappy to bestow on her the right to use the title of ‘First Lady’, preferring to give that honor to the Queeen.

But it is her latest series of overseas trips to represent Najib at overseas functions on official expense that recently riled up Malaysians.

“We have a Deputy Prime Minister. His name is Muhyiddin not Rosmah. How can she usurp his job, has she been trained, can she represent us properly? Then there is the matter of taxpayers’ money. Rosmah’s trips don’t come cheap, she always takes along an entourage,” said Zuraida.

“We are demanding to know the full costs of these trips. The federal government must present details of how many millions of ringgit she has spent. We are not accusing her of going on shopping trips at official expense but personal pleasure, but until the accounts are provided in Parliament, we cannot give her the benefit of doubt either.”