Rosmah Mansor will not be receiving the ‘Lead by Example’ Award from the Antiquities Coalition after the Permata programme was removed from the list of honourees.
It is learnt that Bernama, which reported about the award on Saturday, claimed that the award was being given by Unesco.
Permata is the brainchild of Prime Minister Najib Abdul Razak’s wife, who also serves as its patron. She was slated to receive the award at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, in New York on Thursday.
In an email to the media, Antiquities Coalition spokesperson Andy Beck said: “Contrary to erroneous reports, the event is not a Unesco event, nor is Unesco giving the award.”
Beck also shared a statement from Professor Tudor Parfitt, a British scholar, and Fellow of the Royal Historical Society, and chair of the international academic advisory panel for the event.
“The committee recommended that Permata programmes receive recognition as they were seen to represent a model for potential imitation in other countries with diverse populations.
“The programme, which was founded in 2007 under the auspices of Rosmah Mansor, has already received recognition for its efforts to help deprived young people find employment and develop their potential,” said Parfitt.
Parfitt said following inaccurate leaks of the committee’s recommendations, the organisation had been quizzed by the media about the sources of funding for Permata.
He said as academics, the organisation had no immediate means of verifying funding for Permata, and was not aware of any specific wrongdoing.
“However, we do not wish this important event to be dominated by anything other than the issue of how to mobilise and unite people in the fight against violent extremism,” he said.
“The committee therefore decided it requires more time to review the comments that have been received, and has removed Permata from the list of Thursday’s honourees,” he added.
On Saturday, Bernama reported that Rosmah was selected to be the recipient of Unesco’s award in conjunction with the 71st United Nations General Assembly.
The national news agency quoted Education Ministry secretary-general Alias Ahmad, who is also Malaysian National Commission for Unesco vice-president, that Rosmah would be conferred the award for her efforts in developing the potential of children, especially through the Permata programme.