A pro-BN NGO has cited a Jewish link in what it alleged to be a plot to embarrass Rosmah Mansor on an international level with regard to her being struck off the list of recipients for an award.
"Based on our checks, we found that the agency is Jewish-based and (the award) was purportedly (slated to be given to Rosmah) for her achievements in the Permata programme," Perubuhan Minda dan Sosial Prihatin president Ramesh Rao said in a statement today.
Contacted later, Ramesh declined to confirm that he was referring to the Antiquities Coalition, but promised to reveal more details "in future".
In his statement, he said the Malaysian government was able to detect this plot beforehand, and praised the work of Permata in helping Malaysian children.
"This is the vile work of certain quarters who are envious of Malaysia's success under Prime Minister Najib Abdul Razak and the success of Permata envisioned by Rosmah," Ramesh added.
He also refused to accept the explanation that Rosmah was removed from the list due to questions surrounding the funding of Permata.
He said there definitely is a hidden motive behind the issue.
Yesterday, the Prime Minister's Office (PMO) said Rosmah and Permata declined the 'Lead by Example' award, which had been deferred to next year to avoid further distraction from the important work for the children of Malaysia.
Initially, the prime minister's wife was supposed to receive the award in New York tomorrow.
On Sept 18, according to the PMO, Malaysia's permanent representative to the United Nations received an email from Prof Tudor Parfit, who chairs the academic advisory board of the organising committee.
"Praffit stated the award would be deferred to 2017 because of what he called 'interventions' from The Wall Street Journal and New York Times regarding the funding of Permata," the email stated.
The PMO said Permata is wholly funded by the government under an allocation, transparently included in the annual budget and approved by Parliament.
The PMO also criticised those who attempted to politicise the work of Permata and expressed regret that those who chose to bestow the award gave in to the smears and insinuations of certain quarters.
Portal: Suspend working ties with Unesco
In a related development, a pro-Umno portal called on the government to suspend its working ties with Unesco until its director-general, Irina Bokova, makes an open apology and provides a credible explanation with regard to the award imbroglio.
MyKMU.net also dared Education Minister Mahadzir Khalid to suspend all Unesco Malaysia offices under the Education Ministry.
"Bokova's invitation to Rosmah to receive a special award and cancelling it over questions posed by The Wall Street Journal and New York Times on Permata's funding is rude," it said.
The portal questioned if Unesco is qualified to monitor cultural heritage, when the agency itself "insults" the wife of a sovereign nation's leader.
"Will Unesco do the same if it involved the wife of the US president?" it asked.
The PMO revealed that on Sept 8, Bokova, in her capacity as director-general of Unesco, sent letters to the prime minister, Rosmah and Foreign Minister Anifah Aman.
"The letters stated that Rosmah was to be given a special tribute award at an event co-hosted by Unesco on Sept 22, 2016. This was in recognition of efforts undertaken by the government of Malaysia to counter extremism through the educational system, and specifically the approach taken by Permata founded in 2007 by Rosmah," PMO said.