It never occurred to me if Malaysia had a First Lady. The Queen, in my mind was Malaysia’s First Lady as Malaysia is a Constitutional Monarchy where the Head of Malaysia is the “Yang Dipertuan Agung” (Supreme Head of State and not King as Kingship would be hereditary) and therefore his consort must be the First Lady. Furthermore, the wives of previous Prime Ministers were ladies who took a polite back seat to their husbands. According to Najib, it appears that I am wrong.
Rosmah Mansor has changed everything. According to her and her husband concurs, she is Malaysia’s First Lady while the Queen — well the Queen is above the First Lady (Read Najib’s answer to the question whether Rosmah is the First Lady here).
Rosmah Mansor is one formidable lady. It is rumored that she has a strong influence on Najib even in his official capacity as Prime Minister (read here). Even Minister Mentor Lee Kuan Yew, asked for a formal meeting with her – the first ever for a visiting dignitary and the wife of a Malaysian Prime Minister or for that matter, any head of state (read here).
As the second but only wife of Malaysia’s Prime Minister (both Najib and Rosmah were married before, to other people of course – read here), she has demonstrated very clearly that she is Malaysia’s First Lady. She has a website and an office in Putrajaya (Visit Rosmah’s website here). However questions are being raised on the legality of this arrangement and if this appropriate i.e. that tax payers monies should be used on an individual who is neither involved in government nor an elected representative (Read here).
It has been well known in polite circles that Rosmah has long harboured ambitions of becoming Malaysia’s First Lady and not just the Prime Minister’s wife. This spilled into the open during Najib’s visit to the U.S., when an advertisement in the New York Times, costing a substantial amount of money and “paid for” by “friends and family”, government of Malaysia or a US NGO (depending on who is being asked) congratulated Rosmah and referred to her as “First Lady of Malaysia” for winning “an international peace and harmony” award (Read here and here or watch this – really funny)
She does have baggage like her husband and popular blogger Raja Petra’s affidavit (read here) states that she was at the murder scene when Altantunya was blasted to pieces. Recently, a popular tv producer resigned citing interference from Rosmah Mansor in programming decisions (read here and here ).
Whatever said and done, I wonder if Rosmah could do something substantial like raising the issue of freeing Daw Aung San Suu Kyi? Now that would truly be an act worthy of a First Lady.