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She later worked as an executive with Bank Pertanian until 1983 and subsequently as a business development manager with Island and Peninsular Bhd, a property developer company until 1987.
She married Najib Tun Abdul Razak in 1987 and the couple have two children.
A biography about her was soft-launched by the Sultan of Pahang, Sultan Ahmad Shah on 10 December 2012. The biography has 164 pages and is written in an informal and relaxed tone. It is written by Siti Rohayah Attan and Noraini Abdul Razak and is slated to be published in January 2013. Yayasan Amanah Perdana Malaysia chairman Shamsulbahrin Ludin, the book's publisher, said the biography will tell about Rosmah Mansor's life from her childhood to the present, which includes her life at Tunku Kurshiah College and her involvement in community work. It also includes some facts that have never been told to anyone. It also includes a special chapter where Rosmah addresses the public rumours surrounding her life and involvement in current events.
Rosmah is the President of the Welfare Association of Minister's Wives (BAKTI). She holds the position of Patron for various associations, among others are Children in Hope Foundation, Malaysian Nature Society, Society of the Orthopedically Handicapped Malaysia, Malaysia Aids Council, National Heart Institute Foundation, Thalasemia Association, Malaysian Medical Welfare Fund, the Foundation for the Development of Underprivileged Children and many more.
She is also on the Badminton Association of Malaysia (BAM) as their patron, as well as the President of the Girl Guides Association of Malaysia.
She was installed as the first chancellor of University Industry Selangor (UNISEL). She served from February 2006 until February 2011 succeeded by Raja Tan Sri Arshad Bin Raja Tun Uda.
Rosmah is active with the "Permata" project, a nationwide movement that strives for the development of early childhood education and care good.
Rosmah strongly believes that human capital development begins with children and it is an important investment for the nation. This will lay a firm foundation for national growth, productivity, social cohesion, and peace. She has thus been actively engaged in driving this initiative forward through the Permata project. Through her effort, to date, more than 600 Permata Negara Centers have been set up throughout the country.
This program has since been widened to include intellectually gifted children under the banner of Permata Pintar, aimed at providing appropriate enriched learning environment to challenge them to their fullest potential. This program offers two approaches, the annual school camp for children aged 9–15 and a school for gifted children aged 16–17 at Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia. As for Permata Seni, the objective is to further develop the talents of children in the performing arts, e.g., music, choral singing, and dance.
While enrolled in Permata Insan, the gifted children are provided with an early exposure to the understanding of al-Quran and as-Sunnah, as a way of preparing them to be future Islamic intellectuals.
Rosmah Mansor has been awarded numerous awards and titles from local and overseas institutions. One of the most prominent is the Peace and Harmony Awards from the Business Council for International Understanding from the United States of America on 17 April 2010. This award was conferred to Rosmah Mansor by the former US Secretary Lawrence Eagleburger. The event was held at the famous St. Regis Hotel.
On 2 March 2012, Rosmah was bestowed the Distinguished Service Medal from Stevens Institute of Technology president Dr. Nariman Farvardin in New Jersey, in recognition of her public service, especially in the areas of empowering women and gender equality, and the important role she plays in encouraging early education among Malaysians.
Recently, she was named an Honorary Life Member by the Women's Institute of Management (WIM).
In December 2013, the Centre for Economic and Leadership Leadership (CELD) recognised Rosmah Mansor's high commitment, role and initiatives on women and children's development by honouring her with 'Global Inspirational Leadership' award (GILa) at the Africa-Middle East-Asia Amazons Awards Gala in Dubai, United Arab Emirates.
The Federal and State Awards of YABhg. Datin Paduka Seri Rosmah Mansor:
(Tok Puan Indera), as wife of inherited title Orang Kaya Indera Shahbandar
The Honorary Doctorate in Education daripada University Technology MARA Malaysia
The Honorary Doctorate of Innovation in Human Capacity Development daripada University of Lim Kok Wing Malaysia, 2011
On 7 December 2013, UMNO President Najib Razak praised his wife Datin Seri Rosmah Mansor for her "good deeds" to the country. In his winding up speech at the general assembly, Najib highlighted two instances where Rosmah helped the country.
“I have never told this before. Two years ago, a Malaysian student was detained after he was suspected to be a spy by Egypt.
“I told my wife (Rosmah Mansor) to appeal to the then President Mubarak's wife. In two hours, the student was released.
“Then during Operation Pyramid in Saudi Arabia, we made an impossible request to get our students out without visa. She used her diplomatic connections and got them out. The Saudi government even offered two jumbo jets to help us extract our students," he said while delivering his closing speech at Umno's 67th annual general meeting in Dewan Merdeka, Putra World Trade Centre today.
Rosmah has been the subject of criticism on the Malaysian blogosphere, with critics focusing on her alleged reputation as a spendthrift and dominance over Najib's political and social agenda. She has been photographed with designer handbags including numerous Birkins and expensive jewellery, which have attracted criticism from opposition politicians. US Jeweller Jacob and Co has countered allegations that Datin Seri Rosmah Mansor bought a diamond ring worth RM24 million from it in 2011 with documentation proving the item was sent back to the US.“The reason Madame Rosmah Mansor’s name was on the House Airway Bill is because to ship a valuable into Kuala Lumpur, the item has to be in the care of a local Malaysian,” he said.
New York Times Ad on Rosmah
A two-page spread in the New York Times on 16 April 2010, on the last day of Prime Minister Najib Razak's visit to the US, to congratulate Rosmah on her being conferred a little-known International Peace and Harmony Award. The ad welcomed Rosmah as Malaysia's "First Lady" to New York, and carried the message: “In recognition of your effort to promote peace, harmony and understanding among the people of Malaysia and your courageous acts in making a difference to the lives of people and children around the world. Malaysia is proud of you.” It was signed off: “Best wishes from family and friends in USA and Malaysia.”
It has also been noted that while Rosmah was prominently featured in the ad in a respected and established newspaper, US media coverage of Najib’s visit and meeting with US President Barack Obama was scant.
The New York Times (NYT) retracted its earlier statement that an advertisement in its paper, congratulating Datin Seri Rosmah Mansor for an award, was placed by the Malaysian government. NYT director of public relations Abbe Serphos said in an e-mail sent out on 1 June, "In our internal systems the ad was reserved as a Government of Malaysia ad, but in fact the ad was not placed by the Government of Malaysia. The ad was signed by 'Family and friends in the USA and Malaysia.'" The cost of such advertisements are in the ranges from US$180,000 to US$230,000.
In the Sydney Morning Herald, columnist Andrew Hornery called Rosmah the "first lady of shopping", allegedly for spending A$100,000 (RM325,000) at a Sydney boutique. According to the column, Rosmah and Najib had during the holiday stayed at the A$20,000 (RM65,100) a night penthouse (right) at the newly minted five-star Darling Hotel. However, Najib Razak has dismissed reports that his wife had spent RM325,000 on a shopping spree in Sydney and said it was a wildly exaggerated story deliberately fabricated to affect people's perception of their leaders through Twitter.
Earlier, it was alleged that Rosmah bought US$24 million (RM77 million) diamond ring. Philip Nassimi, the director of fine jewellery of Jacob & Co, backed Rosmah's version of events that a diamond ring was indeed shipped under her name to Kuala Lumpur, but that was for the purpose of showing the ring to Maira Nazarbayev, whose son is engaged to Rosmah and Najib Tun Razak's daughter. The ring, after being viewed by Maira, was shipped out of Kuala Lumpur soon after and reached New York in May 2011. On 4 October 2011, Nazri Aziz, minister in the prime minister's department told Parliament that no payment had been made on a US$24 million (RM77 million) ring linked to the prime minister's wife and the Royal Malaysian Customs confirmed that the ring was "returned" after "a few days" to the company that owns it. Rosmah has also caused a stir by appearing in public countless times clutching at least 11 Birkin handbags in different colours.
Japan's Quake-Tsunami comment
When asked to comment on 2011 Japan's quake-tsunami disaster, wife of Malaysian Prime Minister, Datin Seri Rosmah Mansor said that it is a result of negligence in conducting environmental-friendly developments.
"To me, this is a lesson to other countries, that in everything they do or in whatever development they plan, they should study the surrounding environment and connect it with climate change and green technology," she told private news channel Astro Awani.
A video clip of Rosmah airing her view instantly became viral among internet users, circulating in sites such as Twitter and Facebook, and being met with sarcastic comments from viewers.
Academic and social awards
On 11 February 2012, Rosmah was awarded a Honorary Doctorate of Letters by Curtin University, Australia. The award was given to her because of her contribution especially on the early child education program Permata Negara. There was immediately public furore after the university announced its intention of awarding Mansor with the honorary degree.
"First Lady of Malaysia" title
Rosmah had caused controversy over the title of "First Lady of Malaysia". During the premiership of her husband, Rosmah widely used the title of "First Lady". However, many quarters either argue that it is reserved for the Raja Permaisuri Agong, or that it should never be used at all due to Malaysia not being a republic. The title 'First Lady of Malaysia' drew ire from certain public quarters, for they claimed that such status is not official. A new unit was established within the Prime Minister's Department with the acronym F.L.O.M (First Lady of Malaysia) Unit. Datuk Siti Azizah binti Sheikh Abod was the Special Officer for the unit. The news on FLOM was widely covered by many bloggers with their own stories and analysis. The government webpage containing the information of the contacts in the FLOM department was removed a few days after being criticised by the public.
Inaugural First Ladies Summit
On 11–13 October 2010, Malaysia hosted the inauguralFirst Ladies Summit in Kuala Lumpur with Rosmah listed as one of the First Ladies, which focuses on ways in which families, communities and governments can work together to uncover the potential in every child. Fifteen first ladies attended the summit themed, 'A Child Today, a Leader Tomorrow'. The summit sparked public outcry for its perceived poor attendance.Zuraida Kamaruddin, Member of Parliament for Ampang, criticised the perceived wastage of public funds amounting to RM24 million which she claimed could be put to better use. Despite negative response by the opposition, UN Secretary General Ban Ki Moon praised the inaugural First Ladies Summit for its efforts in securing the welfare of the children.
Hari Raya Puasa
On 2011 Hari Raya Puasa, Rosmah became the first prime minister's wife in Malaysian history to have her own special slot on television broadcast to deliver her Hari Raya speech. Prior to this, only the prime minister had given this sort of speech over television. Rosmah was alleged to be more powerful than her husband. The matter was questioned and criticised widely by the opposition.
On 11 February 2012, Rosmah was conferred the honorary Doctor of Letters degree by Australia's Curtin University in recognition of her efforts in the development of education, particularly children's education through the Permata Negara programme. Many Malaysians objected to Rosmah getting an honorary doctorate. Rosmah had been accused of buying the honorary degree, however it was never proven. Curtin University has faced online criticism since it gave an honorary degree to the Malaysian premier's wife, given the reports of Rosmah's excessive shopping sprees. The reports of excessive spending include a A$100,000 spending at one Sydney fashion boutique in January 2012, a US$24 million diamond ring and a US$200,000 designer handbag.
Misuse of government's private jet
On 10–14 November, Rosmah Mansor's controversial trip to Qatar using the government-funded private jet has caused an uproar, but news reports and photographs on her website show it had been four busy days for the prime minister's wife's entourage. Pengerang MP Azalina Othman, who accompanied Rosmah Mansor during a women's summit in Qatar, which the prime minister's wife had gone on in a private jet, admitted that the invitation to attend the summit was extended to Rosmah in her personal capacity and not to the government. Shahidan, minister in the Prime Minister's Department said the trip was approved by the cabinet at a meeting chaired by the Deputy Prime MinisterMuhyiddin Yassin and that Rosmah was representing Malaysia. The minister said most MPs are thankful to Rosmah Mansor for making a "fruitful" trip to Qatar. Parliament was told earlier November 2013 that the use of executive jets by the government cost RM15 million for fuel and RM160 million for maintenance, with a single flight costing around RM470,000.