Thursday, June 07, 2007

Can Malaysia cope with 3 Sons-In-Law?

We all know the PM's first SIL (Son-In-Law), but the billion ringgit question is... Can Malaysia cope with 2 more?

ST article below on Jeanne Danker Abdullah & her 2 daughters (Pak Lah's future stepdaughters from his coming marriage)...

Looks like Tun M has his work cut out for him. If 1 SIL can give him 2 heart attacks, imagine the damage 3 will do.

She is his former sister-in-law and used to run his official residence
By Carolyn Hong, Malaysia Bureau Chief and Chow Kum Hor, Malaysia Correspondent, The Straits Times

FAMILY TIES: Madam Jeanne (centre), with her daughters Nadiah (left) and Nadene Othman from her first marriage. Madame Jeanne is divorced from the younger brother of Premier Abdullah's late wife.

MALAYSIAN Prime Minister Abdullah Badawi brimmed with joy yesterday when he announced he would be remarrying this Saturday after some 20 months as a widower.

Datuk Seri Abdullah, 67, lost his wife, Datin Seri Endon Mahmood, to breast cancer in October 2005.

His upcoming marriage to divorcee Jeanne Abdullah nee Danker, 53, is no secret, though.

For months, it had been a topic of discussion in plenty of places, from blogs to coffeeshops.

But little was known about his bride-to-be or the events that led to their decision to wed.

Madam Jeanne, who will marry Datuk Seri Abdullah in a private ceremony on Saturday, is his former sister-in-law.

She also once managed the Prime Minister's official residence, Seri Perdana, in Putrajaya.

She used to be married to Mr Othman Mahmood, the younger brother of the late Datin Seri Endon, but they divorced 15 years ago.

She has two adult daughters, Nadiah and Nadene, from that marriage. Her children lived with her when she was working at Seri Perdana.

Known for being unobtrusive, Madam Jeanne was born in Kuala Lumpur on July 29, 1953, to a middle-class Portuguese-Eurasian family, who were staunch Roman Catholics.

The future wife of the Malaysian Premier, who is a Muslim, is the eldest of four siblings and was educated at the well- known mission school Assunta Secondary School in Petaling Jaya, Selangor.

She then carved a career in the hospitality industry.

A statement issued by the Prime Minister's Office yesterday said she had extensive experience in the administration and management of several major hotels, including the Hilton Kuala Lumpur and the Pan-Pacific Hotel.

She left hotels behind about six years ago to become the supervisor of the Deputy Premier's official residence when Datuk Seri Abdullah held that post, and later became the manager of Seri Perdana, which is the official residence of the Malaysian Prime Minister.

It is understood that, after speculation about Datuk Seri Abdullah wanting to remarry intensified late last year, she resigned from her post in January and moved out of Seri Perdana to live in a Kuala Lumpur condominium instead.

Madam Jeanne, who will take the title Datin Seri upon her marriage, has always been close to the Premier's family.

Beaming and joking with reporters yesterday, Datuk Seri Abdullah said he had known Madam Jeanne for about 20 years.

He also said they were family friends and love blossomed less than a year ago.

When reporters pestered him to recall how he had proposed to her, he said he did not remember but allowed that 'there was no bending of knees'.

He also told them that there would be no hantaran (Malay for traditional exchange of wedding gifts) as this was not his first marriage, and that he had not decided on whether to have a honeymoon.

But, he added, he had already picked out a wedding ring.

From June 20, the Prime Minister will make an official trip to Russia, Bosnia and Italy, and his new wife is expected to accompany him.

Of his bride-to-be, he said: 'She's simple and outgoing. When Endon was alive, she (Jeanne) was the one who welcomed guests to the house, including foreign guests. She mixes easily.

'Jeanne loved Endon too.'

According to Mrs Bridget Menezes, a friend of the late Datin Seri Endon, Madam Jeanne began supervising the household at the request of Datin Seri Endon herself, who wanted her expertise in organising banquets, as Datuk Seri Abdullah liked to entertain at home.

Mrs Menezes said of Madam Jeanne: 'She is a warm and kind person and extremely efficient as well.'

One of Madam Jeanne's brothers, Mr Faisol Abdullah, runs Jendela Batik, a company set up by the late Datin Seri Endon to promote batik, which was her pet project.

According to a political source, Madam Jeanne had run the house in a no-nonsense fashion, and had been known to turn away powerful politicians who turned up without an appointment to see the Prime Minister.

For this, some complained that she was overly protective of Datuk Seri Abdullah.

But many people whom The Straits Times spoke to said she was warm and always courteous to every visitor.

Her future husband is said to be besotted with her.

A political source said he carries a mobile phone around to take her calls and will sometimes interrupt a meeting to speak to her in romantic tones.

Their apparent delay in setting a wedding date had fuelled talk that Datuk Seri Abdullah's children had not given the union their blessing.

But the Prime Minister himself said the delay was due to the need to find the right time, and to consult his children and other family members.

He also said his family had given their blessings.

Asked by a reporter if he loved his late wife, he said: 'My love for Endon remains strong, still as strong as ever, but I am falling in love with this one.

'I believe God has created in your heart many people whom you can love. You can love mother, wife, daughter and granddaughter. That's the greatness of Allah, he has created the capacity to love.'

He added that photographs of Datuk Seri Endon are still displayed in the house, and Madam Jeanne could add her photos if she wished to.

As he put it: 'Nothing will change because those are eternal memories.'

1 comment:

oversee said...