Second daughter of Anwar Ibrahim steps up to the plate after father's jail sentence

Nurul Nuha Anwar (centre), Anwar Ibrahim's daughter, speaking at a press conference at Anwar's house in Kuala Lumpur on Feb 11, 2015. She was unveiled yesterday as the face of the "March to Freedom" campaign, aimed at ratcheting up pressure at home a
Nurul Nuha Anwar (centre), Anwar Ibrahim's daughter, speaking at a press conference at Anwar's house in Kuala Lumpur on Feb 11, 2015. She was unveiled yesterday as the face of the "March to Freedom" campaign, aimed at ratcheting up pressure at home and abroad to free her father, now serving a five-year sentence for sodomy. -- ST PHOTO: SHANNON TEOH 

When Anwar Ibrahim was sacked as deputy prime minister in 1998 and subsequently jailed for abuse of power, his eldest daughter Nurul Izzah Anwar - then a fresh-faced teenager who had just left school - shot to prominence as the "Puteri Reformasi" (Princess of Reformation).

Over the years, she became a key figure in the burgeoning opposition.

On Tuesday, when Anwar was locked up again, it was his second daughter Nurul Nuha Anwar's turn to step up to the plate. She was unveiled yesterday as the face of the "March to Freedom" campaign, aimed at ratcheting up pressure at home and abroad to free her father, now serving a five-year sentence for sodomy.

Just a month shy of her 31st birthday, Ms Nurul Nuha was clearly unnerved to be facing the press pack at the family home.

"The outcome has left us devastated. We are outraged. Seventeen years of relentless pressure, harassment and persecution culminated in yet another prison term," she said tearfully, flanked by her elder sister, who later fielded most of the media's questions.

These included questions on whether Ms Nurul Nuha would follow in her sister's footsteps and enter politics - especially now that Anwar's Permatang Pauh seat is vacant.

It is not the first time there has been speculation over whether the mother of two would contest an election, but the family steered clear of politics yesterday, calling the campaign "really personal".

The two sisters and their four siblings went sleepless the first night without their father, worrying about his health. Anwar was given a black eye by the then chief of police in 1998 and Ms Nurul Nuha recalled how her father had fallen ill in prison in 1999, with a urine sample showing high levels of arsenic. "It triggers so many memories, especially the ones you don't want to endure again. How many cockroaches are there (in his cell)?" she said, when asked about losing her father again.

But the six siblings used their nervous energy last night to brainstorm ways to fight for the opposition leader's release, having exhausted all court appeals against the sodomy charge which surfaced nearly seven years ago.

While Ms Nurul Izzah, now a confident second-term MP, talked up visits to win support from Malaysians overseas and meet diplomats, other efforts included a "send Anwar a postcard" drive. The cards, which feature a stencilled image of Anwar, are designed by his youngest daughter Nurul Hana, who was six when her father was jailed in 1998.