'First Lady' says it is common to receive expensive jewellery and gifts and denies purchasing a RM24 million diamond ring in her book.
In her biography, she said it is common for the prime minister’s wife to receive expensive jewellery and gifts while on official duty.
“While welcoming guests, it is common courtesy for them to present us gifts as memorabilia. Among these gifts include rings, watches, jewellery and others. Some are very expensive and custom-made,” she said in the book’s Question and Answer section.
Rosmah was responding to allegations that she had purchased RM24 million diamond ring as claimed by the opposition two years ago.
Her 180-page biography entitled ‚ÄúBiographi Rosmah Mansor‚ÄĚ was launched today by former prime minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad. The authors are Siti Rohayah Attan and Noraini Abdul Razak.
In the book, Rosmah explained that it was common to receive gifts from hosts while visiting another country on official duty.
“When someone gives us something, it is not nice to reject it. This said, there is no reason for me to go around announcing that I have been presented watches, designer bags, and the rest. That’s just showing off,” she said.
Rosmah said she would then “wear” the gifts presented to her as it was a “waste” for them to be kept in a safety deposit box.
“It is illogical to keep them [the gifts] in a metal box when they were presented to me sincerely, are beautiful and suitable for use,” she said.
Rosmah added that she also purchased jewellery and designer clothes using her own money.
“What’s wrong with that?” she asked.
“As a woman and wife of a leader, I have to look presentable, neat and upkeep my appearance. I don’t want to look unkempt because if I do, I will be criticised.
“It would be embarrassing for the rakyat when other countries tease the PM’s wife for being unkempt,” she said.
In her book, Rosmah reiterated that she did not own the RM24 million diamond ring as alleged by former PKR central committee member Badrul Hisham Shaharin in 2011.
“The ring was brought in through Customs to be viewed by Maira Nazarbayev who was with me at the time preparing her son’s engagement to my daughter,” she said, adding that Maira was a “regular customer” of jewellery maker Jacob & Co.
“Once viewed by Maira, the ring was returned and sent out of Malaysia through Singapore port on April 20, 2011. It arrived at Jacob & Co’s headoffice in New York on May 13, 2011.”
Rosmah’s book should be distributed in schools
Meanwhile, during the launch of the book, Mahathir said it was important for all leaders and public figures to chronicle their experiences and achievements in a biography for future references.
“Not many people in Malaysia write about their experiences and there are not many historical books available,” he said.
“Therefore, I urge those who become leaders to write books on their experiences and observations in these exciting times,” he added.
Mahathir believed Rosmah’s biography would serve as a guidance to generations “100 or 200 years from now”.
He added the book should be distributed in schools so youths would be able to access “truths” and reject “lies and slander” on the Internet.
“This book gives explanations to what has really happened. The readers can decide for themselves what is truth and what is not,” he said.
Rosmah’s biography is now available in bookstores and is priced at RM150 a copy.