Nazri, Najib slammed for not daring to say 'NO' to Rosmah
Written by Azmaine Amin, Malaysia Chronicle
Pakatan Rakyat leaders slammed Minister in Prime Minister's Department Nazri Aziz for insisting that it was legitimate for Rosmah Mansor to use the title of First Lady of Malaysia, accusing him of pandering to his boss's wife instead of standing up for national protocol and the Federal Constitution which clearly states the title belongs to the wife of the King.
So far, the Queen has maintained a dignified silence on the matter while Rosmah and her minders have fough tooth and nail to defend themselves from public ridicule.
Rosmah is the 60-year old wife of Prime Minister Najib Razak. So far, of all the prime ministers' wives, she is regarded as the least popular. The public perceives her to be brash and overly ambitious.
Even when Najib was just the deputy prime minister, her shopping sprees were legendary with top-notch boutiques at the swanky Petronas Twin Towers reportedly closing their doors specially to accomodate her and her group of intimate friends.
For years, speculation has buzzed around town about the number of bags and shoes she would snap up at any one time, while her friends would carry brief cases stacked with cash to pay the bills.
“It is a violation of our protocol and principles," Seri Setia assemblyman Nik Nazmi told Malaysia Chronicle.
He also referred to her abuse of the PM's office by inserting her own First Lady of Malaysia or FLOM unit and staffing it with officers paid with taxpayers' funds when there were no provisions for such an expense.
'Grabbing' ways, but only an "officer"
In large part, Rosmah's grab of FLOM title hit a raw nerve with the public due to their concerns over her extravagant ways. While many Malaysians said they did not wish to be represented by her, what most really feared were the exorbitant bills that she might rack up if no one complained or protested.
According to PKR women's chief Zuraida Kamaruddin, Rosmah was "only an officer for the Prime Minister", and not entitled to any fancy positions or official budgets such as the RM4.5 million allocation granted by her husband for the First Ladies Conference held in Kuala Lumpur last year.
"Can an officer also campaign and also make multiple and excessive promises using the government's money during elections which until today, not a single promise has been kept. Is there any special protocol code exclusively for the wife prime minister that we do not know about," Zuraida asked in a statement to the press.
She also blasted Nazri for "playing safe", "spinning the truth" and "manipulating the consitution" just to defend Rosmah.
Indeed, Rosmah's ambition is well known. During recent visits by US State Secretary Hillary Clinton and Australian PM Julia Gillard, Najib was ill with chicken pox and could not meet them. Rosmah had insisted on taking his place - displacing other Cabinet ministers who could better deputize for him.
"Nobody gave her the post. She grabbed it for herself and the aggression that she has shown so far is unprecedented. Now even after the public has protested, instead of moving back into the shadows, she still wants to fight and is getting her lackeys to defend her. We are disappointed with both Nazri and Najib for not standing up to her," PRK vice president Tian Chua told Malaysia Chornicle.
Earlier in Parliament, Nazri insisted he could not understand why allowing Rosmah to use the title First Lady should be confusing.
"There is no need for confusion on this in terms of the law," Nazri told his fellow MPs in the august House on Monday.
“The First Lady is the wife of the chief executive of the country, which is the wife of the PM. So as in the UK previously when Tony Blair was PM, then Cherie Blair his wife was First Lady. In Japan, they have the emperor and empress but the First Lady is the wife of the PM."