KUALA LUMPUR, Oct 7 — Datin Seri Rosmah Mansor today denied bestowing herself the title of “First Lady of Malaysia (FLOM)”, but went on to say that it was an appropriate appellation as she had actively promoted charitable and social welfare initiatives compared to her predecessors, the High Court heard today.
Testifying in her own defence today, Rosmah was being quizzed under cross-examination by senior deputy public prosecutor Datuk Seri Gopal Sri Ram on the formation of the so-called “FLOM Department”, established under the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO), and its role.
When asked by Sri Ram as to whether the title of First Lady was used by the wives of previous prime ministers, Rosmah said she was unsure.
Rosmah also stated that she did not know whether the title was used by her mother-in-law, the late Tun Rahah Mohamed Noah, who was married to Malaysia’s second prime minister, Tun Abdul Razak Hussein.
Sri Ram: Your husband became the prime minister in 2009. Before he became PM, were the wives of the previous PMs known as FLOM?
Rosmah: I did not notice.
Sri Ram: Going back to Tun Abdul Razak, was your mother in-law, Tun Rahah, known as the First Lady?
Rosmah: I don’t know because when she was his wife, I had not married Najib yet.
Rosmah then explained that she had no hand in the formation of the department, but revealed that it was established under the PMO for administrative purposes and that she felt the title befitted her active role as the wife of a prime minister.
Sri Ram: You gave yourself the title of FLOM?
Sri Ram: Who gave you the title of FLOM?
Rosmah: No one. It was established under the Prime Minister’s Department for administrative purposes. You see, the wives of the prime ministers before me were not that active. They did not have any project like Permata and were seldom invited to give speeches. But when Datuk Seri Najib was the prime minister, I led a very, very busy life.
Sri Ram: Was there a department named FLOM under the Prime Minister’s Department?
Rosmah: I don’t know because I don’t interfere in government matters.
In her testimony, Rosmah was referring to the National Permata Programme (Permata), a nationwide initiative that was established during former prime minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak’s tenure to help develop the skills and talents of gifted and disabled kids.
The programme was rebranded as “Genius” under the previous Pakatan Harapan administration.
In this trial, Rosmah is charged with demanding a RM187.5 million bribe — or 15 per cent of the contract’s value — from Jepak Holdings Sdn Bhd’s managing director Saidi Abang Samsudin, and receiving RM1.5 million from him.
She was additionally charged with receiving a RM5 million bribe in cash from Saidi via her former aide Datuk Rizal Mansor.