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.
However, it is unclear whether Azalina had also travelled on the private jet alongside Rosmah.
"The invitation was not on a government basis but on a personal basis," Azalina admitted in Dewan Rakyat today while debating the Budget 2014 allocation for the Rural Development Ministry.
However, Azalina said, it was Deputy Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin who chaired the cabinet meeting that approved the use of the private jet for the trip and not Rosmah's husband, Prime Minister Najib Abdul Razak.
"It was not just her (Rosmah). There were also senior government officials, media personnel and NGOs," Azalina said, also without specifying if the other officials also boarded the jet.
Azalina went on to defend the usage of the private jet by claiming that the event was a success and that the opposition is trying to "deny the success of BN politicians and their wives".
Fellow BN MP, Tanjong Karang's Noh Omar also chipped in by saying that Malaysians should be proud because "no other first lady in the region gets the prominence she gets".
"She has brought a good name to the country," he said.
To this, PAS' Shah Alam MP Khalid Samad criticised the move, saying that a "wrong decision can't be justified because cabinet made the decision".
"If you want to go, you go on your personal expenses," Khalid said.
Later, in a separate press conference at the Parliament lobby, Minister in the Prime Minister's Department Shahidan Kassim (right) said that Rosmah was being treated "unfairly".
"During her trip, she may have attracted investors to the country. What has the critics done for the country?" he asked.
He said that all the criticisms levelled upon the government "would not bring investors to the country".
Meanwhile, Rompin MP Jamaluddin Jarjis said there was nothing wrong in Rosmah representing Malaysia as she was invited officially by the Qatari government.
"The rest of the world is the same, too. If a president's wife is invited, they will also go. If it's for the good of the country, why not?" Jamaluddin was quoted by Astro Awani as saying.
Jamaluddin, a former Malaysian ambassador to the United States, added that Malaysians should be "proud" that the prime minister's wife was getting such recognition from another country.