Despite much criticism, Malaysian MP Nurul Izzah has refused to back down from her critical stance about the Pakatan Harapan government and Prime Minister Dr Tun Mahathir Mohamad. Furthermore, she has gained public support from the head of the PKR, Farhash Wafa Salvador Rizal Mubarak.
Ms Anwar has been unmoved by the criticism against her and has stood her ground in maintaining how essential it is to make her views clear.
The Star Online reports her saying on Tuesday, March 27, “I’m always an optimist. But sometimes, I think we have to make our stance very clear. I did not mean any harm certainly. Inshallah, I will continue to speak in favour of what is right and what is important.”
She added that what she said about Dr Mahathir was a repeat of what she said many years ago.
“I’ve said it before the elections, I have said it during Bersih 2.0’s demonstrations. I don’t understand why saying it at a different (platform), but with the same message, is problematic.
I think time and again, I have always said that. There’s nothing new. Whether foreign or local media, my priority is for Malaysians as a legislator. Of course, national interests override everything else.”
One of Ms Nurul’s chief complaints is that she finds the reforms in Malaysia are coming at a “sluggish pace”.
In the interview with the Straits Times that was published last weekend, she said, “It is wrong for me to say that? Is that wrong? I think it’s okay for a citizen to say. Anyone can comment on the pace of reforms and, Insyallah, we will work towards it together.”
The political secretary of Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim has spoken out in defense of Nurul Izzah Anwar, who has gotten into hot water recently because of her critical remarks concerning Dr Mahathir.
Farhash Wafa Salvador Rizal Mubarak is not only the political secretary of Mr Anwar but also the chairman of their political party, PKR (Parti Keadilan Rakyat).
Mr Farhash said that Pakatan Harapan (PH) must allow for free expression, and that the press had exaggerated Ms Nurul’s remarks. “As politicians, we should all be mindful with the choice of words but the media should also be sensible in their reporting.”
He clarified that Ms Nurul’s comments were made in the context of her disappointment with Mahathir’s decision to let AC chairman Ronald Kiandee to stay on as Public Accounts Committee (PAC’s) chairman, even though he is not an opposition MP.
The PH had pledged during last year’s elections that the PAC chairman would be a member of the opposition.
Nurul Izzah wrote on her Facebook account on that day, “The chairperson of the PAC must be filled by the opposition to pursue accountability of the Executive.”
It is widely believed that Ms Nurul resigned from the PAC because of this.
Additionally, the political secretary of Mr Anwar said that those who have lambasted Ms Nurul would remember the hardship that her family went through.
According to Mr Farhash, Ms Nurul’s opinions must not be mocked or scorned but given due respect.
In a statement released on March 27, he said, “Leaders of Pakatan Harapan and, in fact, PKR leaders should not ridicule her sentiment as an elected representative.”
Furthermore, he emphasized that Ms Nurul has earned the right to speak on behalf of the rakyat.
“She has merely stated opinions that were made even before the election. We tend to forget that politicians are also human beings and her family has experienced firsthand how absolute power can destroy lives.
This is why a fair and transparent government is necessary to further the cause of reformasi.”
Ms Nurul had told the Singaporean newspaper that she was dissatisfied with Dr Mahathir’s government and “heartbroken” at having to work with him. Moreover, she called the Prime Minister a “dictator.”
She added that because she no longer had faith in Dr Mahathir’s Pakatan Harapan (PH) coalition government, she would step down from her position in Parliament after her term ends.
Ms Nurul also harked back to when her father, Anwar Ibrahim, had been fired from his position as deputy prime minister and then imprisoned in 1998, saying that this had taken a toll on their relationship.
Her remarks sparked a backlash among other Malaysian leaders.
But her father, Anwar Ibrahim, sprang to her defense almost immediately. He defended her by saying her disappointment was not only against the prime minister but involved the larger Pakatan Harapan (PH) alliance-led government.
Speaking to members of the media on Tues, Mar 26, Mr Anwar also said that Nurul Izzah had actually made these comments a while ago but did not say exactly when.
Malay Mail reports him as saying, “The statements were made during an interview some time ago, and was blown up by the Singapore Strait Times (sic), so why should we quarrel over it?”
Furthermore, he also defended her on his Facebook page on March 26, wherein he praised her in Malay as a “symbol of the family’s strength.”