Malaysia

Home Ministry issues show-cause letter to The Heat over Najib, Rosmah story

BY EILEEN NG AND CHAN CHENG TUAN
December 13, 2013

The issue of 'The Heat' magazine which got its publishers into trouble with the Home Ministry. – December 13, 2013.The issue of 'The Heat' magazine which got its publishers into trouble with the Home Ministry. – December 13, 2013.Weekly news publication “The Heat” has been issued a show-cause letter by the Home Ministry, believed to be over a front-page article on Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak and his wife Datin Seri Rosmah Mansor’s expenditure.

The Malaysian Insider understands that although the letter did not specify the offending article, it was a report entitled “All eyes on big spending Najib” published in its November 23 to 29 issue.

It is also believed that “The Heat” editor-in-chief David Lee Boon Siew was summoned to the Home Ministry in Putrajaya a week ago and told to tone down its reports.

“The Heat” received the letter a couple of days ago and HCK Media, the publisher, has 14 days to reply.

When contacted, Lee refused to confirm or deny the matter.

“We have no comments.”

Three days ago, The Malaysian Insider had reported that an alleged call from the Prime Minister’s Office apparently resulted in the Astro Awani website removing a report on a blog posting by former New Straits Times group editor-in-chief Datuk A. Kadir Jasin, which had suggested that Rosmah be appointed a minister.

The report was removed on Monday, a day after it was published.

Kadir had said he does not know of any directive to remove his post.

Rosmah had recently come under fire from opposition lawmakers for using a government jet to attend a women's summit in Qatar last month.

Minister in the Prime Minister's Department Datuk Seri Shahidan Kassim had said the Cabinet had approved Rosmah's use of the government jet, causing opposition MPs to accuse the Cabinet of acting irresponsibly and in an undignified manner.

Umno’s Pengerang MP Datuk Azalina Othman, who had accompanied Rosmah on the trip, later revealed in Parliament that it was Deputy Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin who had chaired the Cabinet meeting that approved the use of the government jet for the trip, not Najib.

The issue was also raised at the recently concluded Umno general assembly where Federal Territory delegate Affandi Zahari defended her use of the aircraft.

“Rosmah's safety is paramount and if anything happened to her, it will only upset the prime minister.

"This involves the security of his wife. If anything happened to her, it will affect him emotionally," said Affandi.

In his winding-up speech at the general assembly, Najib sang Rosmah’s praises, highlighting two instances when Rosmah had helped Malaysia.

One was when she contacted the Egyptian president's wife to secure the release of a Malaysian student arrested on suspicion of being a spy.

The second incident was when Malaysian students were stranded in Egypt during the Arab uprising.

Najib said Rosmah had used her good relations with the Saudi Arabian royal family to allow the students to enter the country from Egypt although they did not have visas. – December 13, 2013.