Nurul's explanation fails to appease Sabah leaders
Published on: Monday, November 23, 2015
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Kota Kinabalu: Nurul Izzah Anwar's explanation on her photograph with Sulu princess Jacel Kiram has failed to appease Sabah politicians, with several leaders expressing disbelief that a leader of her stature would associate with an individual whose family was responsible for the 2013 Lahad Datu invasion that killed 15 Malaysians.The most outspoken of the disgruntled leaders was Sabah Progressive Party (SAPP) President Datuk Yong Teck Lee, who suggested the PKR vice-president be banned from the State if she doesn't apologise and promise never to offend Sabahans again.

He said Jacel, the daughter of the late self-styled former Sulu Sultan Jamalul Kiram III, has on her family name, openly made a claim over Sabah.

"Why would a Malaysian MP show tacit support to Jacel Kiram who is well known for her campaign to claim Sabah for the Philippines?

"It is impossible that Nurul did not know about Jacel's election platform to claim Sabah using her family name on behalf of the Philippines. She is a high profile senatorial candidate closely linked to the incumbent Vice-President of the Philippines. She cannot be that ignorant," said Yong when contacted.

Yong, a former Sabah Chief Minister, also said that Nurul Izzah has not convinced Sabahans of her innocence when she explained her reasons for appearing in the photograph with Jacel.

In her explanation, Nurul Izzah had confirmed that she was in the Philippines on November 9 with fellow federal lawmaker Chua Tian Chang as part of a PKR delegation to meet with "various stakeholders" there.

But she said it was her hosts in the Philippines — the Council on Philippine Affairs, the Asian Institute for Democracy, the Office of the Manila City Mayor and the Office of the Philippines' Vice-President — who determined the guest list, which included Jacel.

Nurul Izzah said she had during the meeting stressed PKR's "support for Malaysian government initiatives in peace negotiations in southern Philippines", before going on to affirm Sabah's place in the Malaysian federation.

But Yong shrugged off the explanation, claiming Nurul Izzah likely only added the part about Sabah's sovereignty as "an afterthought" after her photos with Jacel received flak.

"Nurul has raised suspicions about her motives. She must apologise and repent and promise never to offend Sabahans again. Failing that, Sabah should impose an entry ban on her from entering the State," he said.

Jacel was reportedly one of the main spokesmen for the Kiram-led intrusion at Tanduo, Lahad Datu which saw a bloodbath between the Malaysian security forces and the armed intruders. Nine security personnel and six civilians were reported killed on the Malaysian side while on the Sulu side, 56 died.

United Pasokmomogun Kadazandusun Murut Organisation (Upko) Information Chief Albert Bingkasan said the photos came as a surprise, especially because it involved an experienced politician like Nurul Izzah.

"The photo of Nurul Izzah really is a big surprise. How would a supposedly high ranking opposition leader be so happy, showing the world, that she is with people who had caused the death of our fellow Malaysians?" he said.

Bingkasan said that security had become such a big problem for Sabah and the photos showed that Nurul Izzah was only interested in fuelling her self interest with no thought to the nation or the grief of Sabah natives.

"How can Sabahans trust someone who seemingly has relations with a family member of the person responsible for one of Sabah's most violent intrusions?" he said.

"I feel sad for our natives. I feel for my fellow Sabahans who are disgusted with the opposition. This is exactly the kind of acts that motivate Upko to continue standing up and demand for what is due to Sabahans," he said.

Angkatan Perubahan Sabah President Datuk Seri Wilfred Bumburing also said that, to Sabahans, Nurul Izzah's association with the Kiram family is akin to a Malaysian leader meeting up with Israeli leaders.

"It is taboo. For Sabahans, it doesn't look good at all. What could this mean. We are very sad to imagine that PKR could be supporting their claim on Sabah. It is too sensitive in nature. If it was a group photo, that's one thing, but this is a one-on-one session. She needs to apologise and justify the meeting," he said.

Pakatan Harapan component members here were cautious when asked on the matter, however, though some defended Nurul Izzah's meeting with the Sulu senator-wannabe.


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