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Changing Permata's name to 'Genius' not a smart move, says Rosmah's daughter
Published:  Apr 16, 2019 4:22 PM
Updated: 9:42 AM

Nooryana Najwa Najib has criticised the government's decision to rename the Permata programme, which is her mother Rosmah Mansor's brainchild.

According to her, the name 'Genius' does not capture the essence of the programme.

She said Permata, which means 'jewel' in English, was conceived on the belief that every child is precious and should have the opportunity to realise his or her true potential.

“Frankly, 'Genius' is also insulting to many beneficiaries,” added the daughter of former premier Najib Abdul Razak in an Instagram posting.

Yesterday, Education Minister Maszlee Malik announced the name change, which he said was a cabinet decision in order to make the programme more competitive and motivated.

Meanwhile, Nooryana said Permata does not only work with gifted children, but also those with learning disabilities (Permata Kurnia) and less-academically inclined youth (Perkasa Remaja).

“It is disheartening that an initiative focusing on investing in our country's future human capital can be so easily politicised,” she added.

Nooryana, who is pursuing her further studies at Harvard, said she often sees her friends there passionately fighting for early childhood education programmes, specialised programmes for children with disabilities, and other initiatives aimed at improving educational access to low-income communities across the US.

"In Malaysia, Permata provided all these opportunities under one cohesive platform.

"And for those who claim that Permata had nothing to show, I would be happy to provide you with a plethora of success stories. 

"It is truly captivating to see how high our children can soar with the right support and learning environment," she added.

Soon after the May 2018 general election, Rosmah expressed hope that the Pakatan Harapan government would continue with the Permata programme as it was close to her heart.

Deputy Prime Minister Dr Wan Azizah Wan Ismail later said the government would not pull the plug on the programme.

However, she said it would be audited and reviewed first.