Dec 17, 2012
If wife of former Philippine president Ferdinand Marcos, Imelda Marcos is famous for her shoes, then Rosmah Mansor, the spouse of Prime Minister Najib Abdul Razak is noted for her bags and rings. But fashion accessories are not her only forte, unlike most Malaysians, she can set aside subpoenas and has the time, money and inclination to write a book.
One moment, both Najib and Rosmah are riding high on the wave of public opinion and their belief that “we can do no wrong”. Next moment, they are at rock bottom and having to fend off accusations; hence the book. Did she publish details of her life and her rise to prominence, out of conceit or an act of desperation?
Surely the book is not the best medium to “explain” herself, if it is true that Malaysians only read two-and-a-half pages a year.
If Rosmah wants to clear her name, why has she not gone on television and done a Princess Diana type confession complete with black eyeliner and coy looks? After all, the government media and printed newspapers are all within her reach.
If the New York Times could have a US$5 million centre-fold spread of her a few years ago, then she should use the local papers to promote herself. RTM will free-up several slots and would not dare decline her request.
If Rosmah’s biography is priced at RM150, the likelihood is that the book will not be widely distributed throughout the country. Many Malaysians balk at paying RM20 for a book and one costing RM5 might induce the cash-strapped Malaysian to pry open their wallets.
Sometimes, it is difficult to give away free books to tight Malaysians. On the other hand, try to entice the average Malaysian with the latest mobile, and he will be happy to fork-out a few hundred ringgit. Electronic must-have accessories, yes; Books, no!
Who is Rosmah’s target market? Most of the country’s rural people and many of the urbanites could not afford the book. Which part of the community is she trying to convince? Is it Umno people? Is this her way of gauging their loyalty?
So, the overpriced biography is another method to inflate Rosmah’s ego and is definitely another coffee table book which will adorn the homes of the rich, Umno cronies; especially those who pretend they are cultured and love to read by having a Louis Farouk showcase of books in their homes.
Or, is the book just another distraction to divert our attention away from the country’s problems?
Few housewives can claim to have the support of former prime ministers or have access to people in ministerial posts. Not wanting to be excluded from the publicity glare of the pre-launch was Dr Mahathir Mohamad, who agreed that Rosmah’s biography would address the wild “accusations” made against her. Maybe he should write a book to explain his crimes.
Rosmah’s “publishing adviser” is Ahmad Maslan, the deputy minister in the Prime Minister’s Department. Just like Mahathir, his remarks were pregnant with praise for her, inviting us to view the photographs and reassuring us that the book will “honestly answer issues, allegations and paint a true picture” of Rosmah.
What prompted ‘confessions’?
If Rosmah is bothered about these allegations, why use a book? She had the chance to appear in court, when she was subpoenaed to appear at Opposition Leader Anwar Ibrahim’s trial, but refused to attend. What did she want to hide then, that she is desperate to tell us now?
NONEThe past two months has seen a number of people from various backgrounds making confessions. We have heard Deepak Jaikishin(right), the carpet trader make damning accusations about Najib, Rosmah and Najib’s brother.
We have also been privy to some disturbing comments by former inspector-general of police Musa Hassan about the Attorney-General Abdul Ghani Patail, the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission and the Home Minister Hishammuddin Hussein.
The timing is revealing and suspicious. What has happened behind the scenes to make these men anxious to relate their stories now? It cannot be just the 13th general election (GE13) and the likelihood of Umno losing.
There is something that has prompted them to act now, which brings us to the next observation.
If Deepak had not been tricked out of his land and money, would he have kept mum? His motives for spilling the beans are not exactly honorable. He was tricked so he wants retribution.
If his claims are true, he knew he was doing something illegal, but he continued to play along with Rosmah and Najib. He is an accessory after the fact and has perverted the course of justice.
Deepak was greedy, just as the prime-movers in the Scorpene and Altantuya Shaariibuu case were motivated by money. Altantuya and Deepak were double-crossed and decided to expose the villains.
Altantuya was murdered to prevent her from making her exposé. Eventually, her body was found and two men were convicted of her murder, but the trial was a farce that smacked of cover-up and collusion.
If Altantuya had been paid her petty commission of USD$500,000, she might not have been murdered and the Scorpene scandal might have stayed submerged.
Altantuya was removed but Deepak’s public exposé has probably guaranteed his survival.
Closure for Altantuya’s father
Last year, Najib, Rosmah and Musa Hassan managed to set aside subpoenas to appear at Opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim’s trial. Normal people cannot do that. Today, Musa has gone public with revelations of interference in the police force, and both Rosmah and Deepak want to give their version of events in their respective books.
What was Rosmah afraid of when she was subpoenaed last year? And why does she want to write a book, now? Was she afraid of being cross examined by Anwar’s lawyers? Or was she fearful that the Malaysian judiciary is tainted?
If she feels that the judiciary is not trustworthy, then her husband, as prime minister, should resolve this problem.
Despite the serious allegations which were made public by both Musa and Deepak, there is not a squeak from Umno ministers, apart from the usual cursory denials. Are they shocked by Umno’s depravity? Or are they contemplating whether to come clean too?
The AG’s chambers is also silent. In light of Deepak’s revelations, shouldn’t Altantuya’s murderers be retried? Shouldn’t the police question Deepak?
It is the least we can do for Setev Shaariibuu, Altantuya’s father. He deserves some sort of closure.
MARIAM MOKHTAR is a non-conformist traditionalist from Perak, a bucket chemist and an armchair eco-warrior. In ‘real-speak’, this translates into that she comes from Ipoh, values change but respects culture, is a petroleum chemist and also an environmental pollution-control scientist.