KUALA LUMPUR – The granddaughter of former Malaysian premier Mahathir Mohamad has been drawn into the political fray after two newspapers controlled by ruling party Umno splashed photographs of her alleged lavish lifestyle on their pages.
Utusan Malaysia and Berita Harian carried social media pictures of Ms Meera Alyana Mukhriz on Sunday, claiming in their articles that she lived a celebrity lifestyle, wearing designer clothes and travelling on a yacht.
Berita Harian’s front page article was titled “The luxurious life of Dr Mahathir’s granddaughter”, and was accompanied by pictures of Meera and her younger sister, Melia Serena, on a boat with a friend.
The two girls are daughters of Tun Dr Mahathir’s son, Datuk Seri Mukhriz Mahathir, who was formerly menteri besar of Kedah.
Dr Mahathir and Mr Mukhriz left Umno after clashing with Prime Minister Najib Razak over alleged misappropriation of funds at scandal-ridden 1Malaysia Development Bhd (1MDB).
They are both now leaders in Parti Pribumi Bersatu Malaysia, which is part of the opposition pact Pakatan Harapan that has run “anti-kleptocracy” rallies criticising the Najib administration.
At a press conference yesterday Mr Mukhriz slammed the articles, which he said used personal posts as fodder for news, reported The Malaysian Insight (TMI).
Social activist Marina Mahathir defended her niece, telling news site The Malaysian Insight that the newspapers were simply trying to draw attention away from the 1MDB scandal. “Desperate people trying to distract from this,” she said, referring to an article claiming that PM Najib’s stepson, Mr Riza Aziz, bought luxurious properties in London, Beverly Hills and New York using funds allegedly misappropriated from state fund 1MDB.
He said the articles should not have been published as there was no correlation between the pictures and illicit funds, or 1MDB.
“One of the reports cited an anonymous blog implying that the wealth was stolen from the public. As far as I’m concerned, money stolen from the public is (an issue) with the person in leadership, (and he is) not associated with us,” he said, referring to Datuk Seri Najib.
Social activist Marina Mahathir defended her niece, telling news site TMI that the newspapers were simply trying to draw attention away from the 1MDB scandal.
“Desperate people trying to distract from this,” she said in a text message to TMI, referring to an article claiming that PM Najib’s stepson, Mr Riza Aziz, bought luxurious properties in London, Beverly Hills and New York using funds allegedly misappropriated from state fund 1MDB.
According to Utusan Malaysia, Ms Meera, who is known by her nickname Ally, travelled around the world in a boat named after her. The Malay language daily said the boat was given to her by her father.
“Her life is the envy of many women in the country. This proves that former prime minister Dr Mahathir’s granddaughter is only human and is unable to resist the allures of a princess’ and celebrity lifestyle,” the article said.