KUALA LUMPUR – May 9, 2017: The latest round of criticisms directed at the prime minister’s wife Datin Seri Rosmah Mansor over the week has prompted a political analyst to conclude that the opposition parties are once again targeting her ahead of the next general election.
Associate Professor Jeniri Amir of Universiti Malaysia Sarawak has thus advised the public to avoid making judgments and not decide on the country’s future based on a smear campaign.
“Some may find it easy to pick on a leader’s spouse as a way to tarnish the reputation of a party, and finally bring it down. We have to be fair and objective in our assessment. We should support a policy or programme that achieves noble objective for the country and future generation, regardless of whoever is implementing it,” he said.
Jeniri said that instead of a smear campaign, political leaders should focus on convincing the people that they can bring the country forward and solve the country’s problems.
“Gone should be the days when we defame certain leaders by spewing all sorts of accusations without concrete evidence. Voters are now mature and it’s high time for both sides of the political divide to just prove themselves to the public,” he added.
The opposition parties had conducted such a smear campaign against Rosmah in the run-up to the last general election in 2013.
The latest criticisms directed at Rosmah were centred on Permata Pintar, which is one of initiatives encased in the Permata programme, that provides a platform and assistance for excellent students to pursue their studies at prestigious universities. Rosmah is the patron of Permata.
As of now, the Permata Pintar initiative has assisted 15 students to complete their undergraduate studies at a young age.
A report by Bernama said some of them have gone on to pursue post-graduate courses.
Rosmah, who is currently on a seven-day visit to Britain to promote Permata, had reportedly been harassed by reporters from the pro-opposition Sarawak Report in front of a building in London yesterday.
A short video on YouTube shows the reporters taking pictures and uttering intimidating words.
“You should’ve come to London if you don’t want to be photographed by journalists,” said one of the reporters.
Communications and Multimedia Minister Datuk Seri Salleh Said Keruak in a blog post yesterday slammed the reporters.
“Sarawak Report demonstrated an absolute lack of decorum and manners by stalking and harassing Rosmah Mansor today. We would expect people from so-called civilised England to at least show respect to the wife of a foreign Prime Minister but apparently diplomacy is reserved only for their own kind,” he wrote.
Parti Cinta Malaysia vice-president Datuk Huan Cheng Guan blasted the opposition for condemning Permata.
“Look and see for yourself what has Permata done for those poor and bright students in our country. They only know how to condemn and criticise but never lift a finger to do anything to assist those students,” he wrote on his Facebook wall.