From Malaysia with Love?
Official Business = National Interest = Personal Trip
Some background information. Malaysian Prime Minister, Najib Tun Razak, has a wife, Rosmah Mansor, who has never failed to impress the ordinary Malaysians. She shocked the world with her comments by blaming the devastating tsunami that hit north east Japan 2 years ago on Japan's rapid development; failure to study climate change and use green technology. She further emphasized that the tsunami was to be a lesson for Japan and all other countries too.
Rosmah has recently stunted Malaysians again. She does not have any official function in the Malaysian Government. Nonetheless, she flew to Qatar with an entourage of Malaysian ministers, their wives and several UMNO political leaders. She was of course leading the entourage. They traveled in a Malaysian Government jet plane. The government jet is supposedly reserved for the use of Malaysian Ruler, Agong; Prime Minister; and Deputy Prime Minister.
Rosmah is the wife of Prime Minister Najib. She was not appointed officially to represent the government nor was she holding any official posts in Malaysian Government. Rosmah used the goverment private jet on the basis of cabinet ministers' approval chaired by Deputy Prime Minister, Muhyiddin Yassin. Rosmah went to Doha, Qatar for the International Business Women Forum, as well as Dubai, United Arab Emirates.
The sequence of events that has unraveled is no less impressive. Initially, Minister Shahidan Kassim said Rosmah went on “official business”. He even went as far as saying, "She built this country". Rosmah's own special officer Siti Azizah said , “It was not for personal reasons. Rosmah does not represent the Government, but she went there for the sake of the Government’s interest. She is the prime minister’s wife, she went to give the keynote address (at the International Business Women Forum). So she made the address not as a government representative, but in the name of national interest.”
Out of a sudden, Azalina Othman, a member of parliament who was part of Rosmah's entourage, told the Dewan Rakyat of Malaysian Parliament that the Rosmah was invited to Doha in her personal capacity, and that the use of the jet was approved by Deputy Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin and members of the cabinet despite it was a personal trip. This is a truly Malaysia Inc (incorporated) with a family touch? Malaysia is now managed like a family affair.
If you think of Malaysia as a company, it has a situation of the chairman's wife went on a personal trip but she used the company's private jet without paying for it. The board of directors approved the personal use of the company private jet in a meeting chaired by the deputy chairman. Chairman's wife does not have a role or a post in the company. What she has is that she is the wife of the chairman. I wonder if the regulators, Securities Commission in Malaysia and the stock exchange, Bursa Malaysia will find this situation as an abuse of power and wrongful use of the company's funds.
Even if the Securities Commission and Bursa Malaysia refuse to act on this situation, surely the shareholders of the company are entitled to question and demand return of the company's funds which has been abused. This is one form of related party transactions or abuse of power that the regulators should prevent.
In Malaysia Inc, the situation is very different. In response to the public outcry over Rosmah's abuse of Malaysian govt facilities and funds, she said, "“I’m happy. I don’t talk, I don’t comment, I don’t go down to that level,". Rosmah deemed the response of the people to her abuse as 'that low' and she would not responded to such 'lowly' people. Rosmah felt that ordinary Malaysians belonged to a much lower class of people. These people were undeserving of her attention. I have no doubt Malaysians feel insulted by the comments of this self-styled First Lady of Malaysia. The First Lady that disparaged her own people.
Rosmah oh Rosmah, you may be the prime minister's wife. You may call yourself first lady and demand others to identify you to be so, but you do not deserve to abuse this country's money more than anyone else. You may think that ordinary Malaysians are 'lowly' people but they are paying for the expensive government jet in your personal trip and for your personal pleasure. This executive jet plane by the government cost RM15 million for fuel and RM160 million for maintenance. Think about it. Who is more low class?