Local and Foreign Media Coverage on Rosmah Mansur the First Lady Extravagant Lifestyle Versus 1MDB Scandal

Written by Nuremy

Local Media: The Star/ Astro Awani

Most of Malaysian media are controlled by the government in particularly the mainstream media such as electronic, newspapers and broadcast news. This is because they need to apply for broadcast license. The mainstream media are not allowed to post or report on any negative news pertaining to the government. Their license might be revoked. The government has power over the media and they are the biggest stakeholder. For example, mainstream media such as RTM owned by the government in hope of exercising political and economic power of the ruling parties. That is why, none of the mainstream local media is reporting about the issue of Rosmah Mansor luxurious lifestyle.

A news report was taken from The Star online dated 7th April 2013 regarding the issue of the diamond ring from the refine jeweler Jacob and Co amounting to US8 million (24 million). The reporting has created havoc among the nation as the first lady could afford to buy such ring. The Star claimed that Datin Rosmah Mansor did not purchase the blue grade cushion diamond ring instead it was for viewing purpose by the mother of Nazarbayev, which is the mother to Rosmah’s daughter’s fiancé (www.thestar.com.my, 2013).

1MDB Scandal

Looking at one of the news reporting by Astro Awani dated March 2016, it is clearly seen that the organisation is trying to play safe in reporting the 1MDB case. Astro Awani published that Bank Negara could not issue any statement on the funds pertaining to the overseas invesment amounting to $1.38 billion US dollars as there was no confirmation on the issue at that time.

The government need to give more freedom to our local mainstream media and not being biased so that the people right to know accurate information are not deprive. The news should be transparent so that the public would have the opportunity to know the truth and make decision upon analysing the news by themselves. The media have shape people’s mind due to the ownership of the media organisation.

International Media: The Wall Street Journal/ BBC

A news report from The Wall Street Journal dated September 12 2016, claimed that Datin Paduka Sri Rosmah Mansor spent US$6 million on clothes, shoes and jewelry between 2008 and 2015. They also showed a credit card document of her spending at London’s Harrods department store, Sacks Fifth Avenue of New York and many high end shops. They also revealed that Rosmah Mansor has also been seen at high-society events in Malaysia carrying numerous Crocodile-skin Birkin bags which is priced at US$100,000.

If we look at the BBC news they even highlighted the photos of Rosmah Mansor , Dato Seri Najib and two other people in a form of caricature cartoon, these people were accussed being involved in the 1MDB fund by puchasing properties and collaborating in producing a movie staring Leonardo Decaprio. The photo will not be published in Malaysian media in order to protect the ruling party. As compared to Image 3 from Awani, the photo or visual showed in the article is a graphic illustration whereas 1MDB is in the printed version . This showed that the ruling party controlled the media and they unable to report or even published photos that could tarnish the image of the ruling party.

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