Respect Nurul Izzah's views, says Anwar Ibrahim's political secretary

Malaysian lawmaker Nurul Izzah Anwar's remarks in a recent interview had drawn flak from several quarters, including from within her own PKR. ST PHOTO: MARK CHEONG

PETALING JAYA (THE STAR/ASIA NEWS NETWORK) - The views of Malaysian lawmaker Nurul Izzah Anwar should be respected and not ridiculed, says the political secretary of her father Anwar Ibrahim, after her interview with Singapore's The Straits Times, where she expressed disappointment with the Pakatan Harapan (PH) administration, provoked some strong reactions.

Mr Farhash Wafa Salvador said people should understand the context of her disappointment with the government, led by Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad, and her resignation from the bi-partisan Public Accounts Committee (PAC).

"Leaders of Pakatan Harapan and, in fact, PKR (Parti Keadilan Rakyat) leaders should not ridicule her sentiment as an elected representative," he said in a statement on Wednesday (March 27).

In the interview in Kuala Lumpur with ST executive editor Sumiko Tan and ST's Malaysia bureau correspondent Trinna Leong on March 12, Ms Izzah had said that while she had learnt much in the past year, "my heart's been broken as well, somewhat".

Asked to elaborate on this, she said it had not been easy working with "a former dictator who wreaked so much damage, not just on our lives but the system".

Tun Mahathir, during his first stint as prime minister, had sacked Datuk Seri Anwar as deputy prime minister in 1998 and later had him imprisoned.

Ms Izzah's remarks in the interview had drawn flak from several quarters, including from within her own PKR.

PKR vice-president N. Surendran had questioned via a tweet whether it was acceptable for her to make such remarks to a leading Singapore daily, "in the middle of the escalating water agreement dispute and a serious ongoing territorial conflict".

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 cry babies. Whatever it takes, we must make it work - if you can't take the heat, get out of the kitchen."

When asked about those remarks on Monday, Dr Mahathir commented that the feeling was mutual.

"Never mind, many people are disappointed. I am also disappointed with them," he was quoted as saying by The Star Online. He did not clarify who he meant.

Dr Mahathir's political secretary Abu Bakar Yahya later issued a statement describing Ms Izzah as "immature, irrational and emotional", and said she should not have made negative comments about Dr Mahathir, especially to the Singapore media.

However, Mr Anwar defended his daughter and also reiterated his support for Dr Mahathir's leadership.

The Malay Mail reported the PKR president as saying: "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."

Mr Farhash on Wednesday said that as an MP, Ms Izzah's views should be respected as someone who had earned the right to speak for the people.

"She has merely stated opinions that were made even before the (general) election. We tend to forget that politicians are also human beings and her family has experienced first-hand how absolute power can destroy lives.

"This is why a fair and transparent government is necessary to further the cause of reformasi (reform)," he said.

Mr Farhash claimed Ms Izzah's "tone" in the interview was overplayed by the media.

"As politicians, we should all be mindful with the choice of words but the media should also be sensible in their reporting," he said.

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