PETALING JAYA (THE STAR/ASIA NEWS NETWORK) - Malaysian opposition MP Nurul Izzah Anwar has defended her meeting with Ms Jacel Kiram, the daughter of the late self-proclaimed Sulu Sultan who ordered the invasion of Lahad Datu in Sabah, saying that it was arranged by the Filipino authorities.
The Parti Keadilan Rakyat (PKR) vice-president said on Thursday (Nov 19) that she had gone to the Philippines on Nov 9 with Batu MP Tian Chua, as part of the party's delegation to meet political stakeholders in the country.
"In the meeting I stressed our support for Malaysian government initiatives in peace negotiations in southern Philippines.
"I wish to reiterate my support in defending the sovereignty of Sabah as part of the Malaysian federation," said Ms Nurul in a statement on Thursday.
According to Ms Nurul, the people she met were legitimate stakeholders and civil society leaders.
They included former Batangas governor and congressman Hermilando Mandanas, Congress members Regina Reyes and Silvestre Bello, Dean of Law Amading Valdez, former Cabinet member Romy Nery, former undersecretary of justice Wencie Andanar and staff members of the vice-president of the Philippines and the mayor of Manila.
She said the list was decided by the council on Philippine affairs and the Asian Institute for Democracy, the office of the City Mayor of Manila and the office of the Vice-President of the Philippines.
Pictures of Ms Nurul together with Ms Jacel caused an uproar on social media.
Many questioned why Ms Nurul had met with Ms Jacel Kiram, whose father the late Jamalul Kiram III sent 200 of his 'Royal Sulu Army' to invade Sabah in Feb 2013.
In one picture, Ms Nurul was seen having dinner with Ms Jacel and an unidentified man while in two other pictures, Ms Nurul poses with Ms Jacel, holding a "Release Anwar Immediately" poster.