Posted: 09 Dec 2013 10:43 PM PST
Najib Razak's account on how his beloved wife had helped him in two instances involving Malaysians abroad during the Arab Spring of 2011 has sent some critics through the roof. Chief among them was my ex-boss A. Kadir Jasin. His sarcasm-laden posting Antara Cinta dan Jasa* has gone viral, quoted freely and gleefully by friends and foes from The Malaysian Insider to OutSyed The Box.
If she was that good and so connected. Kadir tells the Prime Minister, Why not make Rosmah Minister?
And once she has been made Minister, Najib may want to "re-evaluate" some members of his Cabinet, including Foreign Minister Anifah Aman. "... clearly (Anifah) is not as effective as Rosmah in settling international crises," Kadir adds.
Before he flew off to Europe for an official trip last night, Anifah shared some his thoughts with me on the matter.
This was what he told me, more or less:
"My priority was the safety of Malaysians, especially our students.
"It was a life-and-death situation.
"We needed to evacuate and we needed to do it speedily, with the least hassle.
"I was in close contact with my counterparts (in Egypt and Saudi) throughout, to process the evacuation.
"The PM's wife had connections that I knew could help in a big way, especially under those circumstances.
"Why shouldn't she use those connections?
"And why shouldn't Wisma Putra accept help ?
"It was a life-and-death situation. As the Foreign Minister I would accept anyone's help, anyone at all, if it would ensure the safety of our people ...".
Anifah stressed that in the event of any such crisis in the future, he and Wisma Putra would not hesitate to accept help from anybody and any party if it would help guarantee the safety of fellow Malaysians.
There were more he wanted to say but the Minister had a flight to catch and we promised to pursue the matter.
In the meantime, some articles and pictures from the archives to remind us of the times of crises Anifah and the government were having to deal with when the Arab Spring reached Egypt, killing over 900 people in an 18-day bloody revolution. By any measure, I say Wisma Putra did a brilliant job.
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