Malaysian Home Minister Under Fire for Luxury Watches
In the U.S. we’ve grown accustomed to the way news media puts politicians under such close scrutiny that even what a candidate has for lunch can make headlines. In Malaysia one politico has come under fire for his collection of luxury watches and he’s not at all happy about it.
Malaysian Home Minister Datuk Ser Ahmad Zahid Hamidi has a fondness for fine timepieces and has three that are worth more than RM1 million (about $275,000 USD), a fact that has come to the attention of the anti-crime watchdog site MyWatch. The owner of the site published photos of Malaysian political figures and their expensive watches, paying special attention to the Home Minister and his wife.
The site claims that that Zahid owns a Richard Mille Felipe Massa worth RM366,000, a Richard Mille RM025 Diver worth RM248,000 and a Richard Mille M011 Flyback that sells for RM480,000. His wife Datin Seri Rosmah Mansor has her own enviable collection that includes a Hublot BB Black Magic with 114 diamonds and “tutti frutti” band (RM792,000) as well as a Richard Mille Lady RM007 Diamond Cruncher valued at RM486,000.
At a press conference this week the Home Minister tried to deflect questions about his stash of watches. He even covered his sleeve while commenting, “I have to close this (the watch). They make a fuss even about Casio.”
When pressed on the propriety of political figures flaunting luxury items like Richard Mille watches, the Home Minister replied testily, “Before I joined politics, I was a corporate figure. Why is there a need to monitor all these (watches worn by politicians)?”
Welcome to the 24/7 news cycle, Mr. Home Minister. Hope none of those watches were gifts from wealthy industrialists who do business in your country. Alas, if you’re going to hold public office you will have to become accustomed to the scrutiny of your private life—and your valuable baubles.