LNC73D48Wg201dLjeNZNf-jmBts BroUbanBlog: Australian university slammed over Malaysian award

Friday, 17 February 2012

Australian university slammed over Malaysian award

 Rosmah Mansor
Info : News

The university awarded Rosmah Mansor, wife of Prime Minister Najib Razak, an honorary degree on Saturday for what it said were her contributions to early-childhood education.

Rosmah is a controversial figure in Malaysia, where she is routinely portrayed by critics as out of touch with ordinary Malaysians amid reports of her extravagant tastes, and web users have pounced on the affair.

"How much Rosmah paid for this PhD?" one Facebook user wrote on the university's page, before submissions were blocked.

Another admonished the school to "Get your fact(s) right before giving out your cheap toilet certificate."

Several Curtin degree-holders pledged to tear up their own certificates in disgust, while a separate Facebook site called "Boycott Curtin University till Rosmah Mansor's Doctorate Revoked" also was set up.

Rosmah has faced ridicule in Malaysia's independent online media over her alleged shopping exploits at a time when many Malaysians are concerned about inflation.

Recent accusations include reports that she spent tens of thousands of dollars on clothes from an Australian designer and bought a US$24 million (S$30.2 million) diamond ring and a US$200,000 designer handbag.

She has denied the accusations.

Curtin vice-chancellor Jeanette Hacket defended the degree award in a statement on Facebook, saying Rosmah "was recognised as the founder and driving force behind" early childhood centres in Malaysia.

But the school said Friday it had "no choice but to temporarily suspend comments" on its Facebook wall.

It cited "continuing infractions of our own terms of use and Facebook's terms and conditions, and the risk of breaching" Australian and Commonwealth defamation codes.

Malaysian online news portal Malaysiakini quoted Rosmah as saying her critics might be "jealous" over the degree.

"I don't want to handle personal petty issues. It is all out of frustration. It is all out of... I don't know... Maybe jealousy," she said.

Opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim has alleged that Najib and Rosmah orchestrated charges that he committed sodomy with a young male aide in 2008 in a bid to tarnish the opposition.

Anwar was acquitted in January but the government is appealing the ruling.



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