Rosmah defends Permata despite harsh criticism


KUALA LUMPUR: Prime Minister Najib Razak’s wife Rosmah Mansor today defended Permata against critics, especially MPs, and has vowed to prove them wrong.

“Even when people punch my eyes blue-black I’ve kept quiet, but now I want you all to know what we are doing is for the best for our children,” the patron of the child education and welfare organisation said.

She spoke at the “Kenali Anak Pintar Anda” (“Identify your brilliant kids”) talk at Permata Pintar Negara centre here.

Rosmah said when Najib mentioned Permata in Parliament, people slyly mentioned “it is his wife’s organisation”.

Rosmah said that was not true and that several people were working hard to ensure the idea envisioned by her and others was properly executed after due research had been done.

“I always wanted an opportunity to talk and now I have been given the chance to talk,” she said, adding that she wanted everyone to know that Permata had been doing a fantastic job with the children.

She said Permata had vastly expanded since 2006 and was hoping to continue growing but was finding it slightly difficult to do due to budget constraints.

Rosmah said Najib had agreed to open another Permata Pintar school, which would focus on children in Form 1 till 3, whereas existing schools catered for Form 4 and 5 students.

Permata Pintar schools focus on children who score above 140 in their intelligence quotient (IQ) test and a few other tests before being admitted into the school.

Rosmah said she hoped one day to have a centre in each parliamentary constituency.

However, she said due to budget constraints, the land had to be provided for before the suggestion to open a centre could be proposed.

Permata has been working with 1Malaysia People’s Housing (PR1MA) developers, who have agreed to build these centres in the housing areas being developed.

“We are not static. We are expanding.”

Pakatan Harapan, the opposition coalition, had earlier this year demanded that the government abolish several organisations, including Permata, to reduce government expenditure.