As Nurul Izzah riles up public via hard-hitting remark, Anwar Ibrahim and Deputy Prime Minister Dr Wan Azizah jump to daughter’s defence

Deputy Prime Minister Dr Wan Azizah Wan Ismail said it was a fair comment and should be taken constructively while Parti Keadilan Rakyat (PKR) president Anwar Ibrahim remarked that his daughter's comment was not just targeted at the PM but the PH coalition in general

Photo: Facebook screen grab from Nurul Izzah Anwar's official page

It now appears to be a case of Anwar’s family vs. the Malaysian government?

Nurul Izzah’s rousing comment about Dr. Mahathir being a “dictator” and “bringing damage to the system” has roused Malaysians and Singaporeans alike. It prompted Malaysia’s current PM to react, and Nurul Izzah’s parents to come to the rescue.

Deputy Prime Minister Dr Wan Azizah Wan Ismail decisively declared that her daughter Nurul Izzah’s condemnation should not be taken as an affront, and instead, must be taken positively and in context by the Pakatan Harapan government to further advance its performance.

However, she advised that Nurul Izzah’s views should not be dismissed because the Prime Minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad had resonated the same views as the Permatang Pauh MP, at least to some extent.

“The prime minister agreed with Nurul Izzah’s disappointment, so it is not a problem.

“Is it wrong? She didn’t mention misappropriation of funds, stealing money from the country or any other issues. We, as a government, should accept constructive criticism,” she defended her daughter at the dinner and launch of the 2019 World Women’s Day.

Anwar’s defence
Nurul Izzah’s equally controversial father, Parti Keadilan Rakyat (PKR) president Anwar Ibrahim, remarked in another interview that his daughter’s comments on Dr Mahathir Mohamad’s administration was targeted not just at the Prime Minister but also at other leaders from Malaysia’s ruling Pakatan Harapan (PH) coalition.

“I think the statement was not wholly aimed at Tun Mahathir, but also directed towards other (leaders) who voiced their opinions and attacked each other.”

Speaking to reporters, Mr. Anwar, who is also Malaysia’s prime minister-in-waiting, repeated his stand that he, his family and PH support Dr. Mahathir’s leadership, and will give him the space he needs to govern effectively. Simultaneously though, he also defended his daughter’s remarks.

“We give space, as this does not mean we cannot have differences in opinions, or offer criticism,” Anwar stressed.

The comment that started it all
Ms Nurul’s remarks about PM Mahatir has drawn criticism from several quarters, including from within her own party.

Economic Affairs Minister Mohamed Azmin Ali, in a Twitter post said: “This country needs doers who are prepared to tough it out all the way, not be cry babies. Whatever it takes, we must make it work – if you can’t take the heat, get out of the kitchen.”

As a reaction, Mr. Anwar who thought that the tweet was a disparagement of Nurul,  advised Datuk Seri Azmin, who is PKR deputy president, to cool down and focus on more important issues.
“I think he needs to cool himself a bit. I think he should always focus on the central issues. There are people who want to protect principles and ideals, and there are people who just (want) to defend their position at all costs,” Mr. Anwar said.

That statement is open to interpretation.