Written by Stan Lee, Malaysia Chronicle
Did Rosmah Mansor pay RM24.4 million or US$24.4 million for a humungous tax-free diamond ring ordered from New York's Jacob & Co?
Yes, it makes a tremendous difference because if it was US$24.4 million, that would mean the wife of Prime Minister Najib Razak blew something like RM73 million on a piece of jewellery.
It might be Rosman's own business but where she did get so much money from, and did Najib know about it? Did the PM authorize Customs to exempt the ring from taxes and why?
Additionally, why should Najib do such a thing when he has been telling Malaysians to tighten their belts and prepare for the next round of price hikes coming soon? Also, does he earn so much that his wife can splurge RM73 million on a ring, no matter how equisite?
Those are the questions gaining pace in town since PKR Rembau leader Badrul Hisham Shaharin lodged a report with the Malaysian Anti Corruption Commission last week, urging the agency to investigathe the first couple over the ring.
"Our investigations show the ring is RM24.4 million ringgit nor US dollar? But that is already a lot of money, and if Rosmah says it is not, then for sure MACC must investigate all the more," Badrul told Malaysia Chronicle.
"As PM, how can Najib earn so much that Rosmah can just spend so much money on just one ring, no matter how beautiful and tempting it looks. Malaysian prime mnisters earn well but if they are not corrupt, there is no way they can make so much money."
The PKR Youth leader also said that so far, the MACC has not come back to him and neither has the first couple.
Last week, Badrul had challenged Rosmah to deny the ring belonged to her. But she has kept mum so far and is due to visit the Pope in the Vatican with Najib in tow beginning Monday.
What BN bloggers say - BIG LIE!
Meanwhile, UMNO bloggers have poured scorn on the three computer screen visuals received and exposed by Badrul last week. The screenshots apparently taken from the Customs' database show the existence of the ring and its importation from Jacob & Co, as Badrul had alleged.
However, to the BN bloggers, it was a "big lie" that the ring was bought by Rosmah using her own savings as some netizens have alleged. They said the owner of the ring is Jacob & Co.
The firm had brought the ring into Malaysia for a "private exhibition" at a "private residence of a VVIP in Kuala Lumpur sometime between the 17th and 19th of April, 2011", they took pains to explain.
"It is NOT TRUE that the RM24 million ring owned by Jacob & Co was PURCHASED by any of the VVIPs who were present at the "private exhibition'. The RING IS NOW WITH ITS RIGHTFUL OWNERS - JACOB & Co in New York - Thank You," said one well-known pro-BN Facebook user.
"It is a BIG LIE that the Prime Minister's wife Datin Seri Rosmah Mansor had purchased the ring with her savings as being propagated by some politicians and their desperate lackeys."
Fine jewellery not taxable?
The posting also insisted that the 'Natural Fancy Blue Gray Cushion Cut Diamond Ring' was taken out of the country on April 20, four days after arrival on the 16th.
"So it is a fact that the much talked about ring was brought into the country. It is also a fact that the regional agent for Jacob & Co did use Datin Seri Rosmah Mansor's name (it says 'inspection by') on the Customs declaration form. It is a fact that such fine jewellery, as this diamond ring OWNED by Jacob & Co, IS NOT a taxable item under the Malaysian LAW," said the posting.
"These Opposition politicians are so desperate that they have even created a FAKE Utusan Malaysia front-page montage. p/s This is not the first time such nasty 'super-imposed' pictures are used to discredit the Government and those associated with it. The last time PKR's now BATU Member of Parliament Tian Chua ADMITTED superimposing Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak's picture as part of their dirty political campaign to discredit Najib."
Tupperware-party equivalent of the rich and famous?
However, despite the detailed and passionate explanation, PKR's Badrul - also known as Chegubard - was unfazed.
"So what, they can say anything, who cares? What we want is for the MACC to do a neutral and fair test. If Rosmah is innocent, well and good for her. If guilty, then she and Najib must be punished. It is as simple as that, nothing personal at all," said Badrul.
According to PKR vice president Tian Chua, there was something fishy about the 'VVIP' exhibition.
"This is the first I have heard of a private VVIP showing. I mean, is this a tupperware party or what? Does it mean that if the ring was sold, the so-called patron and 'inspector' of the ring, which is Rosmah Mansor, would get a commission from Jacob & Co?" Tian told Malaysia Chronicle.
"If not, then why is she going out of her way to help them sell the ring, does she have shares in Jacob & Co, is she getting some sort of benefit. I think these are very valid questions that she and the PM should answer. Neither she or Najib should make use of their position to make monetary gain for themselves and if they have done so, have they declared tax on that income?"