Prime Minister Najib Abdul Razak is not only facing pressure from his political opponents both within and outside of Umno. Things may not be so rosy on the family front as well.
Adding fuel into this cauldron of speculation was the rare statement issued by his four younger brothers, who expressed concern that their late father’s reputation is being soiled.
Hong Kong-based portal Asia Sentinel has earlier this month reported strained ties between Najib’s siblings and his wife, Rosmah Mansor, who since her husband came to power in 2009 has been the centre of a string of controversies surrounding her extravagant lifestyle.
Quoting a source, the report claimed that Najib’s brothers had openly criticised their flamboyant sister-in-law at dinner functions.
However, Umno bloggers later circulated a response purportedly from Rosmah, in which she denied the report and claimed that she would never cause a rift in her husband’s family.
Perhaps for Najib’s brothers, the Feb 9 front-page New York Times report was the final straw.
The report quoted the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) attributing Najib’s expenditure, including the multi-million dollar purchases of his wife’s jewellery, to his inheritance.
Picking up on the issue, veteran newsman A Kadir Jasin said the PMO’s propaganda machine was scrapping the bottom of the barrel to protect Najib and Rosmah.
However, he added that it should not dishonour and disrespect the memory of Abdul Razak Hussein, the nation’s second prime minister and Najib’s father.
To do so, he argued, would be an “unpardonable sin”.
“Unless PMO makes an about turn and denies making a statement to the NYT about Najib’s so-called inheritance, it stands accused of tainting the memory of that great man,” he said.
Previously, Kadir noted that the PMO’s statement could cast doubt on Abdul Razak’s integrity as it gave the impression that he was a wealthy man.
The veteran newsman also quoted a former political aide to the late prime minister about the latter only having left behind two houses, one in Pekan and another in Kuala Lumpur.
Well-known for his frugality
In their statement issued late yesterday, Najib’s brothers wrote: “We wish to put on record that Tun Abdul Razak was a highly principled man, well-known to all who knew him for his frugality and utmost integrity and any statement or inference to the contrary would be totally false and misleading to his memory and to his service and sacrifices for the nation.
“We take issue with anyone who taints his memory, whatever the motive. We would also like to add that our whole family is united on this issue.”
The statement, signed by all four Najib’s brothers – Johari, Nizam, Nazim and Nazir – came hot on the heels of Rosmah drawing flak with her revelation that it cost RM1,200 to dye her hair.
Malaysiakini is still awaiting a response from the PMO and Najib’s youngest brother, CIMB chairperson Nazir (left), who sent the “private” statement on behalf of his brothers to media organisations.
Meanwhile, Kadir also delved into the hairdo issue by citing several statistics:
1. Median monthly income of people in Sarawak, Perak and Kedah, RM1,200; Terengganu, RM1,100; and Kelantan, RM1,000.
2. The majority of Amanah Saham Bumiputera (ASB) unit holders have an average investment of RM550.
3. Out of nearly eight million working Malaysians, the median salary for 2012 and 2011 had stagnated at RM1,500.
The median monthly household income was RM3,626, while the median monthly household income for the top 20 percent was RM9,796, the middle 40 percent (RM4,372) and the bottom 40 percent (RM1,852). – Malaysiakini