PETALING JAYA: Early childhood programme Permata is wholly funded by the Government under an allocation included in the annual Budget approved by Parliament, the Prime Minister’s Office has pointed out.
All its expenditures are in accordance with Government financial procedures, the Prime Minister’s press secretary Datuk Seri Tengku Sariffuddin Tengku Ahmad said yesterday.
His remarks were in response to the deferment of a “Lead by Example” award to Datin Seri Rosmah Mansor, the Prime Minister’s wife and patron of Permata, in conjunction with the 71st United Nations General Assembly currently underway in New York.
The award, which was scheduled to have been awarded tomorrow, was withdrawn following questions over the sources of Permata’s funding.
“This is not only a matter of public record, but could have been immediately explained had we or Permata been asked before the award deferment,” said Tengku Sariffuddin in a statement yesterday.
Tengku Sariffuddin said Rosmah had earlier been informed by Unesco director-general Irina Bokova that she would receive the award at an event co-hosted by the organisation.
He said on Sunday, 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.
“Prof Parfitt stated that the award would be deferred to 2017 because of what he called ‘interventions’ from the Wall Street Journal and the New York Times regarding the funding of Permata,” said Tengku Sariffuddin.
Tengku Sariffuddin also explained that neither Permata, Rosmah or the Government had ever applied for the award.
He said the priority of Permata and Rosmah would always be to bring positive impact on the lives of thousands of young children.
To avoid any further distraction from this important work for the children of Malaysia, he said Permata and Rosmah had declined the proposed deferred award.
He said the Government deplored attempts to politicise the work of Permata which only aimed to improve the lives of children.
“And we regret that those who chose to bestow the award have given in to the smears and insinuations of some who are only focussed on their campaign against Malaysia, the Government and the Prime Minister.”