Najib: Rosmah shopping spree ‘a wildly exaggerated story’
UPDATED @ 06:31:17 PM 02-02-2012
KUALA LUMPUR, Feb 2 — Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak has dismissed reports that his wife Datin Seri Rosmah Mansor had spent RM325,000 on a shopping spree in Sydney recently.
“It was a wildly exaggerated story deliberately fabricated to affect people’s perception of their leaders,” he said in a posting on his official Twitter account last night.
He was responding to a question from one of his followers about recent reports from Australia that Rosmah’s estimated bill for designer label clothing by Carl Kapp was around A$100,000 (RM323,000).
Rosmah had also earlier denied claims she had spent the amount at the Sydney boutique.
She had said she was the victim of “wildly exaggerated” allegations, published by the Sydney Morning Herald.
The paper’s columnist Andrew Hornery had written an article calling Rosmah the “first lady of shopping.”
Rosmah was forced to fend off the accusations of lavish spending in Sydney, just six months after being embroiled in controversy over allegations that she had bought a US$24 million ring.
Datuk Seri Mohamed Nazri Aziz was compelled to tell Parliament last October that no payment had been made on a US$24 million (RM77 million) ring linked to the prime minister’s wife.
The Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department said then that the Royal Malaysian Customs confirmed that the ring was “returned” after “a few days” to the company that owns it.
Najib denied on August 21 that his wife bought the diamond ring or that his Kazakhstan in-laws are linked to the “Russian mafia” as reported by Indonesia’s top-selling daily, Kompas.
Kompas had subsequently apologised to the prime minister for its August 4 report but mystery remains as to why the ring from New York jeweller Jacob & Co. was addressed to Datin Seri Rosmah Mansor, according to pictures widely circulated on the Internet.
Questions had arisen as to whether Rosmah’s name had been used without her knowledge by criminal elements as part of their illegal activities. To date, the government has yet to identify who brought the ring into Malaysia.
Rosmah has faced repeated allegations that she has a penchant for a lavish lifestyle ever since it became apparent that Najib would succeed Tun Abdullah Badawi as prime minister.
Sydney-based Kapp clarified last week that he had never specified the amount spent in his store by Rosmah and her entourage.
The South African-born Kapp acknowledged that the prime minister’s wife had visited his store in Paddington, Sydney as published recently in the Sydney Morning Herald.
Rosmah had also dismissed claims of extravagant spending during her recent holiday in Sydney.
Several bloggers picked up the Sydney Morning Herald report that Rosmah had allegedly dropped an estimated RM325,000 in fashion designer Carl Kapp’s boutique during a private holiday a month ago.
The paper reported Kapp as telling its ‘Private Sydney’ section that Rosmah “was absolutely gracious and very easy to deal with”, adding that she was nothing like the woman often portrayed by the local media for her extravagant lifestyle.
It was said that Kapp, who became suspicious of the identity of his mystery VIP customer when his Oxford Street store received a flurry of calls requesting valet parking for her limousine, said he was being flown to Malaysia next month with a collection of “toiles” for Rosmah to try on before completing her massive order of 61 dresses, pants, and tops.