Controversial wife of Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak may have gone one step too far with her latest shift, quite literally, into the Prime Minister's Office.
A new unit in the Prime Minister’s Department has set tongues wagging.
The unit known as FLOM, an acronym for First Lady of Malaysia, is a full-fledged department that looks into the operational needs of the Prime Minister’s wife, Rosmah Mansor.
Ensconed within the premises of the PM’s Office, FLOM has a six-member staff headed by special officer Siti Azizah Sheikh Abod.
The rest of the unit comprises two personal assistants Saleha Mohd Rabani and Siti Zaiton Abdul Ghani and three assistant officers with special functions – G Vimala, Rizal Mansor and Nurul Rosemiemmy Kahsimi.
What these personnel actually do is anyone’s guess and FLOM’s mission and vision remain a mystery. The Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) official website too is not helpful.
Suffice to say that FLOM was probably involved in the highly publicised and controversial Islamic Fashion Week, the recent RM4.5 million three-day First Ladies Summit and, not to mention, the additional “official activities” and visits to New York, Europe and the Middle East.
Curious bloggers hot on the Rosmah trail have been spewing venom at her audacity to establish her own unit within the Prime Minister’s Department.
(FLOM shares the same stature in the PMO as that of five other units, namely private secretary, political secretary, Office of the Prime Minister’s adviser, Office of the Prime Minister’s economic adviser and Management Office of Sri Perdana.)
“Already she’s taking away hundreds of millions of ringgit from the taxpayers’ money to channel into her Permata (early childhood education) and other project. When the PM was sick, she ignored Muhyiddin (Yassin) and stood in for PM… Now she has moved into the Prime Minister’s Office… what will she do next, ” ranted one blogger.
Another blog posting demanded to know the operational cost of running a six-member department and who was paying for it.
“What is she trying to do… run the country? The role of the wife of a PM is to complement him in relation to the social aspects.
“Rosmah should play the role of mother to the people of Malaysia, instead of wasting taxpayers’ money to establish a division,” noted the posting.
Yet another posting noted: “Rosmah fancies herself as Michelle Obama (US President Barrack Obama’s wife)… with access to the Oval office.”
Fascinated by the online brouhaha over Rosmah’s latest stunt, FMT made a short call to the PMO only to be told that the “entire” FLOM team was not back from Oman but declined to give furher details.
Meanwhile, a report in The Star last week noted that Rosmah’s “official visit to Oman will further strengthen relations between Malaysia and the sultanate”.
Opposition parties here have not been without their views. PKR has reportedly demanded that Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak explain FLOM’s legality.
Said PKR women’s chief Zuraida Kamaruddin: “Najib should explain this division, and the establishment of this unit without going through the legal convention such as Parliament. Rosmah should not have an office in PMO.”
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