Uproar over photo of Anwar's daughter Nurul Izzah with daughter of Sabah invasion leader

Malaysian Opposition MP Nurul Izzah Anwar with Jacel Kiram.
Malaysian Opposition MP Nurul Izzah Anwar with Jacel Kiram.PHOTO: THE STAR/ASIA NEWS NETWORK

KUALA LUMPUR (THE STAR/ASIA NEWS NETWORK) - Lawmakers from both sides of Malaysia's political divide have asked opposition MP Nurul Izzah Anwar to explain a photograph she took with the daughter of the late self-proclaimed Sulu Sultan, who ordered the invasion of Lahad Datu in Sabah.

The photograph of the Lembah Pantai MP and Princess Jacel H. Kiram Hasan holding up a "release Anwar immediately" sign has gone viral on social media.

Ms Jacel is the daughter of Jamalul Kiram III who sent 200 of his "Royal Sulu Army" to invade Sabah in February 2013.

Datuk Seri Shahidan Kassim (Barisan Nasional-Arau) said it was not appropriate for the Parti Keadilan Rakyat (PKR) vice-president to have posted the picture in light of the recent beheading of Sarawakian Bernard Then.

"It is a sensitive issue, so she should explain herself as it has gone viral.

"I know she is a good-hearted person and will not do anything bad, but I think she should just explain the photo," he said, adding that it may lead to a negative perception by the public otherwise.

Datuk Seri Wee Ka Siong (BN-Ayer Hitam) was also shocked and said that Ms Nurul Izzah was duty bound to give answers about the pictures.

"It was to my rude shock that this happened. Please ask Nurul on what really happened and what transpired between the two as we Malaysians are eager to know. I am not the one involved so I can't tell you what happened," he said.

Similarly, Mr Jimmy Wong (Democratic Action Party-Kota Kinabalu) said Ms Nurul should explain herself to the public considering the sensitivity of the situation at this point of time.

"I know some of these things are unavoidable, but there is no need to post it up on social media," he said.

Pictures of the daughter of jailed former opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim together with Ms Jacel are causing an uproar on social media.

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.

The pictures are believed to have been taken this month.

Facebook user Lim Sian See asked what Ms Nurul, Ms Jacel and the unidentified person discussed over dinner and whether the food was any good.

The self-styled Sulu princess was the chief spokesman during the Lahad Datu invasion and is currently running for senator on the platform of claiming Sabah from Malaysia.

On her Facebook page, Ms Jacel's profile photo had the caption: "You are a Filipino, Sabah is ours!"

Netizens also shared the pictures and questioned Ms Nurul's meeting with Ms Jacel by asking "what was she doing with person behind the Lahad Datu intrusion?"

Another user Justin "The" Tun urged Ms Nurul to clear the air and even went to say: "Isn't that woman Jacel Kiran? Pls tell me she's not."

Mozas My said in Malay: "You had to ask the Lahad Datu Intrusion princess to release your father. Enough la. Do not make it even more disgraceful."

Both Ms Nurul and Ms Jacel have not been able to be reached for comment.

In February 2013, an armed group of 200 men known as the "Royal Army of Sulu Sultanate" from Southern Philippines entered Malaysian waters.

A stand-off with Malaysian security enforces ensued, causing casualties on both sides.

Following the intrusion, the Eastern Sabah Security Command was established, covering 1,400km from Kudat to Tawau.