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Sunday, September 4, 2011

Najib's quickie-holiday and Rosmah's grand TV appearance outrage M'sians

Sulaiman Kamal | 11:42 PM | | | | | | Best Blogger Tips

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Malaysia's scandal-plagued first couple have come under heavy public fire once again. First Lady Rosmah Mansor started tongues wagging when she demanded a special TV slot to air her Hari Raya message to the nation in complete breach of political etiquette. Then news broke that her husband Prime Minister Najib Razak, the head of the nation, had scooted off to Australia for a quickie holiday on National Day of all days.
Their escapades have fanned the public's wrath sky high and the Malaysian Twitter scene has been abuzz with rebukes about their over-the-top behaviour for days now.

"Each week, there seems to be some scrape or other. In past, the BN blamed the opposition for tripping them. But did we request for a Hari Raya slot for Rosmah? As for Najib, he should come clean on where he was on Merdeka. Nobody wants to deny him a holiday but to sneak out quietly out like that speaks volumes about his leadership," PKR vice president Tian Chua told Malaysia Chronicle.
Holiday-happy Najib
Tian added that the opposition would be scutinizing the Prime Minister's Department's billing for the latest trip. Malaysia recently celebrated the Muslim Hari Raya Aidil Fitri on Tuesday, August 30, and National Day on Wednesday, August 31.
Both Najib and his wife have come under fire in the past for their lavish overseas travels often with large private entourages at public expense. Of late, the 58-year-old Malaysian leader has hit the skids, with his popularity plunging to 59% in August from 65% three months ago.
Najib was last spotted on Tuesday at the Palace Hari Raya open house and issued a National Day statement through Facebook and Twitter the next day. In his tweet, he urged Malaysians not to forget the struggles of our forefathers in fighting for the country's independence. "Happy 54th Merdeka Day," he wrote.
Few Malaysians had any inkling that he was not even around. His personal aide has confirmed that he is on holiday but refused to divulge his whereabouts. However, a private jet meant specially for the PM's use has been spotted in Perth airport on Wednesday, Aug 31.

"He is on holiday and will be back next week like everyone else," Malaysiakini reported one of Najib's aide as saying.
Then there was Rosmah
As for Rosmah's unsual request for special airtime, pundits believe she may have been trying to undo some of the bad publicity that has engulfed her since Indonesia's top newspaper Kompas reported of a US$24 million diamond ring she purportedly bought and that one of her in-laws had links to the Russian mafia.
However, the move appears to have backfired. The moment her programme ended, the Malaysian Twitter scene erupted with comments about her appearance. Despite the huge public ribbing, the signs were ominous and point to the depth of her unpopularity, with most of the tweets carrying the same negative vein:
"I wish Siti Hasmah, Endon..had a chance on TV. 1st time seeing Rosmah speaking like a PM on TV. I m confused, who's real PM?
"No other First ladies done that before, not even Michelle Obama. Malaysia boleh!"
According to PAS vice president Mahfuz Omar, Malaysians may feel "nauseated" at being forced to repeatedly watch Hari Raya messages from both Najib and then Rosmah. To him, it was unnecessary political 'overkill'.
"Prior to this, only the prime minister was given such a slot. Rosmah is the first person in history other than the prime minister to be given a special slot to deliver Hari Raya message," said Mahfuz, adding that it underscored the views of many politicos that Rosmah wielded too much power in Putrajaya, the Malaysian administrative capital.
"Najib must control her," PKR Women's chief Zuraida Kamaruddin told Malaysia Chronicle. "As the PM's wife, she must know the people did not elect her. It's not about keeping women quiet and downtrodden. There are many issues and campaigns she can fight for but she must be sensitive to the fact that Malaysian never ever voted her into power, so there are things and aspects from which she must butt out of."

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