KUALA LUMPUR – Lembah Pantai Member of Parliament Nurul Izzah Anwar should justify her meeting with Jacel H. Kiram, daughter of theÂ leader of the Sulu terrorists who invaded Lahad Datu, Sabah, in February 2013, said a political analyst.
Dean of Universiti Utara Malaysia’s (UUM) College of Law, Government and International Studies Asso Prof Dr Ahmad Martadha Mohamed said the Parti Keadilan Rakyat (PKR) leader’s alleged meeting with Jacel on Nov 9 had unwittingly created a negative perception in the minds of the people.
“She was labelled a traitor to the nation as a result of that meeting.
“By taking legal action against the individuals who had branded her a traitor, will she be able to wipe out the public’s negative perception of her? As a politician she should know very well that perception forms a vital component of a leader’s overall reputation in the eyes of society,” he told Bernama.
Last Thursday, Nurul Izzah, who is also PKR Vice President, filed a defamation suit against Inspector-General of Police Tan Sri Khalid Abu Bakar and Rural and Regional Development Minister Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob for alleging that she had committed treason. The allegations came about after a photograph of her with the self-styled Sulu princess went viral on social media.
In her writ of summon, Nurul Izzah named the IGP as the first defendant for issuing a “malicious and false” statement during a press conference at the Bukit Aman police headquarters on Nov 22.
She also claimed that Ismail Sabri, who was named the second defendant, had also made a similar allegation on the same day during an event in Bera, Pahang, which implied that she was a traitor to the country and has declared war against the Yang di-Pertuan Agong.
Ahmad Martadha said Nurul Izzah should, by right, exercise more caution in her political affairs and take into consideration public sensitivities.
“Whatever her intention may have been, Malaysians don’t have a good impression of Jacel as she is the daughter of the (Sulu) terrorist group leader (the late Jamalul Kiram III). The (Lahad Datu) incursion had resulted in the death of members of our security forces and had made life hard for the people of Sabah. The tragedy will remain a black spot in the nationâ€™s history.
“In their zeal to link up with outsiders, including foreign powers, to seek their support or sympathy, Nurul Izzah and her colleagues should take care not to allow their dealings to be at the expense of the nation’s interests,” he added.
UUM senior lecturer in political and international studies Md Shukri Shuib said the move by Nurul Izzah to file a legal suit reflected her immaturity as a leader.
“If Nurul Izzah truly advocates democracy and is honest in her political struggle, she should be more open to criticism and disapproval.
“Why choose the court as a platform to close an issue which she herself had created? I don’t think politicians should make a habit of filing legal action because it will eventually smear their credibility as leaders,” he said.
Md Shukri said the photo of Nurul Izzah with Jacel reflected the opposition’s lack of patriotism towards Malaysia. In fact, he added, outsiders may misintepret it as the opposition’s recognition of the terrorist group which attacked Sabah.
He said he was also concerned that the opposition could be dicing with political extremism, which could affect the sovereignty of the nation.
As of last Tuesday, a total of 90 police reports were lodged against Nurul Izzah, following the publication of her photo with Jacel.
Last Thursday, the Sabah State Legislative Assembly passed a motion to ban her and MP for Batu Tian Chua from entering the state. – BERNAMA