What’s the deal with UN award supposedly for Najib’s wife?
by Jonathan Leong
NOW you have it, now you don’t… but wait, you don’t want it?
We’re talking about the supposed leadership award which would supposedly be presented to Madam Rosmah Mansor, wife to Prime Minister Najib Razak on Sept 22 at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York. It was supposed to be for her work with Permata, a children’s welfare group, which she founded and serves as patron.
That’s if you believe the media headlines.
In Bernama for example, it was “Rosmah Recipient of UNESCO’s ‘Lead By Example’ award”. The report quoted Education Ministry secretary-general, Datuk Seri Alias Ahmad, who is also Malaysian National Commission for UNESCO vice president, saying that the UNESCO’s ‘Lead by Example’ award would be presented to Madam Rosmah.
Well, some people certainly didn’t buy it.
Malaysian press, please check if this really is a UN award: Rosmah Mansor to receive Unesco's Lead by Example award https://t.co/DJ6if8rcIH
— Tom Wright (@TomWrightAsia) September 17, 2016
— Low Keng Onn (@lowkengonn) September 19, 2016
Turns out, the award isn’t given out by the United Nations – the ‘Lead by Example’ award was to be given out by Antiquities Coalition, an American non-profit organisation.
The award was to be presented to Madam Rosmah for her works with Permata in children development and education.
Did the media jump the gun in reporting her nomination for the award?
Perhaps the confusion started when UNESCO director-general Irina Bokova told Madam Rosmah of her nomination – or at least that is what Tengku Sariffuddin, the press secretary to the Prime Minister claims.
Anyway, it’s bad news for Madam Rosmah – the committee has now decided not to give it to her.
The award retraction comes after concerns regarding Permata’s source of funding were raised by The Wall Street Journal and The New York Times. This is amid corruption allegations aimed at the Prime Minister and Madam Rosmah.
Antiquities Coalition announced that it could not verify if the organisation had legitimate sources of funding. So, Antiquities Coalition has decided to drop her name from the list of honorees, pending a review.
But… media reports are saying she will “decline” it? What gives?
Mr Sariffuddin was quoted in The Straits Times saying that Madam Rosmah and the Permata group wish “to avoid any further distraction from this important work for the children of Malaysia, Permata and Datin Seri Rosmah have declined the proposed deferred award”.
Was there an award in the first place?
Featured image by REUTERS/Bazuki Muhammad.
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