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The Sun (Malaysia) - - FRONT PAGE - G. SURACH

PETALING JAYA: Per­mata and the prime min­is­ter’s wife, Datin Seri Ros­mah Man­sor, have de­clined the “Lead by Ex­am­ple” award to avoid fur­ther con­tro­versy.

“We de­plore at­tempts to politi­cise the work of an ex­em­plary or­gan­i­sa­tion whose only aim is to im­prove the lives of children,” said the prime min­is­ter’s press sec­re­tary, Datuk Seri Tengku Sar­if­fud­din Tengku Ah­mad, in a state­ment is­sued yes­ter­day in response to re­ports that the award to be given to Ros­mah, who founded Per­mata in 2007, had been de­ferred.

Clar­i­fy­ing the is­sue, Tengku Sar­if­fud­din stressed that nei­ther Per­mata, Ros­mah nor the gov­ern­ment had ever ap­plied for the award.

He said on Sept 8, Irina Bokova, in her ca­pac­ity as Unesco di­rec­tor-gen­eral, had sent

let­ters to Prime Min­is­ter Datuk Seri Na­jib Ab­dul Razak, Ros­mah and Foreign Min­is­ter Datuk Seri Ani­fah Aman stat­ing that Ros­mah was to be given a spe­cial trib­ute award at an event co-hosted by Unesco on Sept 22.

Tengku Sar­if­fud­din said the award was in recog­ni­tion of ef­forts un­der­taken by the gov­ern­ment to counter ex­trem­ism through the ed­u­ca­tion sys­tem, specif­i­cally the ap­proach taken by Per­mata un­der the pa­tron­age of Ros­mah.

How­ever, on Sept 18, Malaysia’s Per­ma­nent Rep­re­sen­ta­tive to the United Na­tions re­ceived an email from Prof Tu­dor Parfitt, chair­man of the aca­demic ad­vi­sory board of the or­gan­is­ing com­mit­tee of the “Trib­ute to Con­trib­u­tors to the Global Cam­paign Against Vi­o­lent Ex­trem­ism”, stat­ing that the award was to be de­ferred to 2017 due to what he called “in­ter­ven­tion” from the Wall Street Jour­nal and the New York Times re­gard­ing the fund­ing of Per­mata.

“We regret that those who chose to be­stow the award have given in to the smears and in­sin­u­a­tions of some who are only fo­cused on their cam­paign against Malaysia, the gov­ern­ment and the prime min­is­ter,” he said.

“Those be­hind this po­lit­i­cally mo­ti­vated cam­paign care noth­ing for the dam­age caused by these false al­le­ga­tions to Per­mata, its staff and all the young peo­ple they have helped and care for.”

He said Per­mata is wholly funded by the gov­ern­ment un­der an al­lo­ca­tion trans­par­ently in­cluded in the coun­try’s Bud­get and ap­proved by Par­lia­ment.

“All ex­pen­di­ture are in ac­cor­dance with the gov­ern­ment’s fi­nan­cial pro­ce­dures. This is not only a mat­ter of public record, but could have been im­me­di­ately ex­plained had we (the gov­ern­ment) or Per­mata been asked prior to the award de­fer­ment,” he added.

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