Q: A lot of people had so many things to say about your meeting with Singapore Minister Mentor Lee Kuan Yew last month. What is your take on it?
A: (Laughs) I couldn’t believe it when I was told that he wanted to see me and I was honoured that he wanted to do so.
I believe he came to see me because he has heard many things about me and wanted to assess me himself. For that, I am very glad that he didn’t believe what the media or the foreign wires had to say about me. I believe he had a good impression about me.
To me, Lee Kuan Yew is a very intelligent man. As neighbours, we have to prove that we are really honest and sincere in our relationships and he also wants the same… to have a better relationship between the two countries as neighbours.
Q: You are a beautiful lady. Tell us about your beauty regime?
A: Thank you (laughs). I don’t have any. For my make-up, I love to mix and match and I don’t stick to one brand. I love to wear baju kurung and also kebaya as not only are they Malaysian-made but they are also very comfortable and nice to look at. I also love to wear kaftans. I love to exercise and when you are beautiful inside, it will automatically show on your face.
Q: How would you compare yourself with the wives of other leaders, such as Michelle Obama and Carla Bruni?
A: I wouldn’t like to compare myself with anyone. As wife of the prime minister, I have to see what my country needs.
However, my children tell me that early childhood education is also a priority of the Obamas. In some ways, this helps me to know that I am on the right track.
Q: Are you a misunderstood lady?
A: (Laughs) I don’t know.
Q: How do you deal with wild rumours and criticism?
A: This thing about me has been going on for a long time. My husband said to me that you cannot please everyone. There will always be 20 per cent of them who are not happy with you no matter what you do.
So I cannot be pleasing them all the time. I have to look at the other 80 per cent and what I can do to help them. Sometimes, when I hear the things that people say about me, it is beyond my imagination.
I believe that some day, the truth will prevail and until then, I hope people will judge us by our deeds and on the job that we do. So right now, I am concentrating on doing a good job for my people and country.
Q: Are you for absolute press freedom?
A: Yes and no. It’s not good to have too much press freedom as ours is a multiracial country and we must take into account the sensitivities of other races. What we have now is just fine.
Q: The Merdeka survey revealed that only 45 per cent of Malaysians are happy with your husband’s performance as PM. What do you have to say about that?
A: Why do you have to believe in one survey? There are many others that are more objective and not slanted. You don’t expect changes or wonders to be done overnight.
I feel that he is doing well for the country. He wants to see Malaysians get more than what they are getting now.
He will have to introduce things and be objective. You must also understand that for every change, there will initially be resistance. When people are used to a certain style or standard, they will resist change. It will take some time before they can understand that the changes are good for the country.