MPs from both sides of the political divide have questioned the posting on social media of pictures of PKR vice-president Nurul Izzah Anwar with the daughter of the late self-proclaimed Sulu sultan who ordered the invasion of Sabah.
This came as Malaysians reacted with anger and horror at the killing of Bernard Then by Abu Saayaf kidnappers and the Lembah Pantai MP may now find herself faÂÂcing the Parliamentâ€™s Rights and Privileges Committee.
Minister in the Prime Ministerâ€™s Department Datuk Seri Azalina Othman said the meeting seemed like an â€œinvitation for foreign elements to interfere in the countryâ€™s national affairsâ€.
â€œShe has also violated her oath as a parÂliamentarian of being loyal to the country,â€ Azalina claimed.
â€œThe Government is studying if she should be referred to the committee.â€
Pictures of Nurul Izzah with Princess Jacel H. Kiram Hasan â€“ whose father sent 200 men to invade Sabah in 2013 â€“ holding up â€œRelease Anwar Immediatelyâ€ posters had gone viral.
Minister in the Prime Ministerâ€™s Department Datuk Seri Shahidan Kassim said it was not appropriate to post the picture in light of Thenâ€™s recent beheading.
â€œAlthough we should not condemn the Sulu princess for her late fatherâ€™s act, Nurul Izzah should not have posted their photos as some Sabahans would have been hurt by it,â€ said Stephen Wong Tien Fatt (DAP-Sandakan).
Expressing his shock, Minister in Prime Ministerâ€™s Department Datuk Seri Dr Wee Ka Siong said Nurul Izzah was duty bound to provide answers.
â€œPlease ask her what really happened and what transpired between the two as we Malaysians are eager to know,â€ he said.
Jimmy Wong (DAP-Kota Kinabalu) said Nurul Izzah should explain considering the sensitivity of the situation.
â€œI know some of these things are unavoidable but there is no need to post the picture on social media,â€ he said.
Calling for an apology, Urban Wellbeing, Housing and Local Government Minister Datuk Abdul Rahman Dahlan tweeted: â€œFor Nurul Izzah to cosy up and see someone who publicly declared supporting armed intrusion in Sabah is unacceptable.â€
In a statement, Nurul Izzah said the list of those attending the meeting was decided by various Filipino authorities, including the office of the countryâ€™s vice-president.
She said she went to the Philippines on Nov 9 with Batu MP Tian Chua as part of a delegation to meet political stakeholders in the country.
â€œIn the meeting, I stressed our support for the Malaysian governmentâ€™s initiatives in peace negotiations in southern Philippines.
â€œI wish to reiterate my support in defenÂding the sovereignty of Sabah as part of the Malaysian federation,â€ she said.-The Star
(Reporting by MARTIN CARVALHO, HEMANANTHANI SIVANANDAM, HANIS ZAINAL, and D. KANYAKUMARI)