Spouse of the Prime Minister of Malaysia
Incumbent
Datin Sri Muhaini Zainal Abidin

since 21 August 2021
StyleYang Amat Berbahagia
ResidenceSeri Perdana
Formation31 August 1957
First holderSharifah Rodziah Syed Alwi Barakbah

The spouse of the prime minister of Malaysia refers to the spouse of the head of government of Malaysia, the prime minister. Since independence in 1957, the title has been held by women, therefore the spouse is also known as the prime minister's wife. Some commentators have tried to style prime ministers' wives as "First Lady of Malaysia", similar to the style of First Lady used in republics, but this is not a recognised title.[1][2] To date, ten women have held the title of the spouse of the prime minister of Malaysia.

Role of the spouse of the prime minister of Malaysia

The spouse of the prime minister of Malaysia is not an elected position, carries no official duties, and brings no salary. However, she does receive some allowance as recognition of her time and energy put into being the spouse of the prime minister of Malaysia.

As the spouse of the prime minister of Malaysia, she attends many official ceremonies and functions of state either along with or representing the prime minister. There is a strict taboo against the spouse holding outside employment while serving as spouse of the prime minister of Malaysia.

Following the Asian value system, where the woman is the guiding light and pillar of the household, the spouse also represents family values and is taken as a motherly figure.

The spouse of the prime minister of Malaysia frequently participates in humanitarian and charitable work. It became increasingly common for spouses of heads of state or government to select specific causes to promote, usually ones that are not politically divisive. It is common for the spouse of the prime minister of Malaysia to form organisations and hire a staff to support these activities.

List of spouses of prime ministers of Malaysia

# Portrait Spouse Term start Term end Prime Minister
(Coalition-Party)
1
Blank.png
Sharifah Rodziah Barakbah 31 August 1957 22 September 1970 Tunku Abdul Rahman
(Alliance-UMNO)
2
Rahah Noah 1968.jpg
Rahah Noah 22 September 1970 14 January 1976 Abdul Razak Hussein
(Alliance-UMNO)
(1970–1973)
(BN-UMNO)
(1973–1976)
3
Blank.png
Suhaila Noah 15 January 1976 16 July 1981 Hussein Onn
(BN-UMNO)
4
Siti Hasmah (cropped).jpg
Siti Hasmah Mohamad Ali 16 July 1981 30 October 2003 Mahathir Mohamad
(BN-UMNO)
5
Endon Mahmood.jpg
Endon Mahmood 31 October 2003 20 October 2005 Abdullah Ahmad Badawi
(BN-UMNO)
6
Jeanne Abdullah née Danker.jpg
Jeanne Abdullah 9 June 2007 3 April 2009
7
Rosmah Mansor 2010 New Delhi (cropped).jpg
Rosmah Mansor 3 April 2009 9 May 2018 Mohd Najib Abdul Razak
(BN-UMNO)
8
Siti Hasmah Mohamad Ali (cropped).jpg
Siti Hasmah Mohamad Ali 10 May 2018 24 February 2020 Mahathir Mohamad
(PH-PPBM)
(Interim Prime Minister from 24 February 2020 to 1 March 2020)
9
Puan Sri Noorainee Abdul Rahman.png
Noorainee Abdul Rahman 1 March 2020 16 August 2021 Muhyiddin Yassin
(PN-PPBM)
(Caretaker Prime Minister from 16 August 2021 to 21 August 2021)
10
Blank.png
Muhaini Zainal Abidin 21 August 2021 Incumbent Ismail Sabri Yaakob
(BN-UMNO)

List of spouses of prime ministers of Malaysia by Age

Ages of Living Spouses as of 06:47, Monday, November 21, 2022 (UTC)

# Name Born Died Age
1 Siti Hasmah Mohamad Ali 12 July 1926 Alive 95 years, 132 days
2 Rahah Noah 11 June 1933 18 December 2020 87 years, 190 days
3 Suhaila Noah 26 October 1930 4 October 2014 83 years, 343 days
4 Sharifah Rodziah Barakbah 1920 12 March 2000 79 years 71 days to 80 years, 70 days
5 Noorainee Abdul Rahman
21 April 1949 Alive 73 years, 214 days
6 Jeanne Abdullah 29 July 1953 Alive 69 years, 115 days
7 Rosmah Mansor 10 December 1951 Alive 70 years, 346 days
8 Endon Mahmood 24 December 1940 20 October 2005 64 years, 300 days
9 Muhaini Zainal Abidin 12 November 1962 Alive 60 years, 9 days

Controversy

Controversy over the usage of the title "First Lady"

The Yang di-Pertuan Agong (King of Malaysia) is a constitutional figurehead within the framework of a constitutional monarchy. It is argued that Article 32(2) of the Constitution of Malaysia stipulates that the Consort of the Yang di-Pertuan Agong takes precedence over all individuals in the federation and is second only to the Yang di-Pertuan Agong himself. Hence, it is argued that the Raja Permaisuri Agong is, by strict analogy only, the First Lady of Malaysia. It should however be borne in mind that such a title cannot exist in Malaysia in the first place, as "First Lady" exclusively refers to wives of presidents and not monarchs.

Before Najib's premiership, there had not been a precedent in Malaysia where someone other than the wife of the prime minister served as a self-styled "First Lady". While the Prime Minister Abdullah Ahmad Badawi's first late wife, Tun Endon Mahmood Ambak underwent treatment for breast cancer in the United States, the title of "First Lady" was not officially designated.

The issue was brought up only during the premiership of Najib when his wife widely used the title of "First Lady". Many quarters either argue that it is reserved for the Raja Permaisuri Agong, or that it should never be used at all due to Malaysia not being a republic.

The issue didn't stop there as there was an obscure new unit established within the Prime Minister's Department with the acronym FLOM (which was not explained on the website, but taken to stand for "First Lady of Malaysia"). Datuk Siti Azizah binti Sheikh Abod was the Special Officer for the unit. The news on FLOM was widely covered by many bloggers with their own stories and analysis. This led to the government webpage containing the information of the contacts in FLOM department to be removed a few days after the story came out. However some search engines managed to store the cached version of the page.[3] Many groups questioned the validity and functionality of the department. There were also some queries, especially in the Malaysian Parliament, on how much allocation from the National Budget was allocated for the department.

See also

References

  1. ^ "debunks 'first lady' term used on wife". The Malaysian Insider. 15 June 2010. Retrieved 21 January 2011.
  2. ^ "'First lady' lower than Queen". The Sun. 15 June 2010. Retrieved 21 January 2011.
  3. ^ https://archive.today/20121202133809/http://www.pmo.gov.my/?menu=page&page=1947 First Lady of Malaysia Unit webpage