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The Thing About Nurul Izzah's Controversial Photo With Jacel Kiram

IMHO, the Nurul Izzah/Jacel Kiram controversy has been blown out of proportion!

Cover image via The Star

By now almost everyone in Malaysia is well-aware about the "treason" committed by Lembah Pantai MP Nurul Izzah Anwar who posed together with Jacel Kiram, the daughter of the former self-styled Sulu Sultan who ordered the Lahad Datu intrusion in 2013

Nurul Izzah (left) with Jacel Kiram.

Image via The Star Online

One of the photos showed Nurul having dinner alongside Jacel Kiram and an unidentified man while two other photos showed Nurul posing together with Jacel holding a "Release Anwar Immediately" poster.

After the photos went viral, lawmakers from both sides of the political divide questioned Nurul, with Shahidan Kassim (BN-Arau) commenting that it was not appropriate to have posted the photo in light of the recent beheading of Sarawakian Bernard Then Ted Fen

Image via The Star

As the news spread, Defence Minister Hishammuddin Hussein condemned her, and Deputy Women, Family and Community Development Minister Azizah urged her to explain and apologise for the meeting. Although, Parliamentarian Stephan Wong (DAP-Sandakan) and another DAP MP Teresa Kok came in her defence.

But the sheer number of politicians criticising or condemning Nurul far outweigh the number of people speaking in defence of her.

For example, right from Deputy PM Ahmad Zahid Hamidi to Minister Abdul Rahman Dahlan to the Minister in the Prime Minister's Department Azalina Othman have issued strongly worded statements against her, even saying that she will be referred to A-G and also to the Parliamentary Rights and Privileges Committee.

Moreover, IGP Khalid has said that she may have committed "an act of treason".

In all, as of writing this, more than 90 police reports have been lodged against Nurul's meeting with Jacel, with police classifying the case under Section 124 of the Penal Code including SOSMA.

To Nurul's credit, the Lembah Pantai MP immediately apologised for the photos and explained that she had not intentionally sought a meeting with the Sulu Princess, nor had the two ever met before.

Her apology should have been the end of it. We should have moved on. But it wasn't the case as we seem keen on playing up this issue.

Now, the Lembah Pantai MP is considering if she can take legal action against certain leaders including the IGP and Ismail Sabri for branding her a traitor to the country.

"I will discuss with my lawyers on taking legal action against certain individuals such as the Inspector-General of Police, and Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob, who have likened my actions to an act of treason," The Star Online quoted her as saying.

She said this after a motion to refer her to Parliament's rights and privileges committee was entered into the order paper on 25 November. The motion will be tabled by Azalina Othman on 3 December.

"This incident happened outside the Dewan Rakyat. But if Azalina wishes to add another reason to condemn an Opposition MP, please go ahead. The list is long," Nurul said, adding that she has nothing to hide and will face the possibility of being hauled up before the Parliamentary Rights and Privileges Committee with a "clear conscience".

Protesters hold up placards and banners to protest over the meeting between Nurul Izzah Anwar and Sulu ‘princess’ Jacel Kiram at the entrance of the state legislative assembly building in Kota Kinabalu, on 25 November.

Image via Bernama

See, there's no denying the fact that the PKR leader has made an extremely poor choice in posing together with Jacel Kiram, one, I'm sure, she might go on to regret. However, I'm of the opinion that this "Nurul/Jacel controversy" has been blown out of proportion.

I mean there are far more serious issues that demand the attention of not just the lawmakers of this country but also of the rakyat.

What serious issues?

For starters, how about the fact that the Auditor General's report revealed how poor finance management has cost the government millions of ringgit — basically taxpayers hard earned money.

Or how about the fact that Malaysia recently faired worse than Singapore in Transparency International's Government Defense Anti-Corruption Index, indicating that the nation is at a high risk of corruption in its defense sector. You can read all about it here.

The colour code that indicates the corruption risk levels. Malaysia scored 'D'.

Image via Transparency International

And on the more abhorrent side, every 35 minutes a woman is being raped in Malaysia and how sexual offenders can conveniently take the refuse of religion to justify their heinous sexual crimes

Speaking of religion, YAPEIM, a charitable foundation under the purview of the Prime MInister's Department aimed at aiding orphans and the poor, allegedly spent RM410,978 on programmes overseas which only benefited a handful of people

Or the sad reality that impressionable minds were used for playing partisan politics when they sat down to write their SPM Moral exam

Remember Kevin Morais? It's been two months since his mysterious murder and now there are reports that his family has no idea what happened to his remains. Is that not something way more serious than Nurul Izzah posing together with Jacel Kiram for photos?

Deputy Public Prosecutor Anthony Kevin Morais's body was found in a cement-filled steel drum in a swamp in Taman Subang Mewah in USJ 1, Subang Jaya, 12 days after his abduction on 4 September. 7 men have been charged with his murder while army pathologist Kol Dr R. Kunaseegaran‎ has been charged with abetment.

Now there's a conspiracy to get rid of his body, claims his brother Charles Suresh Morais. Kevin's body was taken from the mortuary without the consensus of the rest of his family, who now claims that they have no idea what has been done to Kevin's body or where it is. In a statutory declaration (SD), Charles implicated an officer of the Attorney-General's Chambers (AG Chambers). He highlighted a text message which he claimed was sent by the officer to another of his brothers around 15 November.

Image via The Star Online

This despite the fact that the High Court has fixed 4 December for case management of Charles's application to conduct the second post-mortem on Kevin's body. In the SD, Charles also said he had the impression that hospital authorities were pressuring for Kevin's remains to be removed.

"I am very surprised that the authorities at Kuala Lumpur Hospital and the police appear to have been complicit in allowing Kevin's body to be removed from the mortuary by Richard when they were both fully aware that I wanted a second post-mortem to be conducted. I believe this clearly demonstrates mala fide on their respective parts in their efforts to prevent this second post-mortem taking place," he said.

I mean a Deputy Public Prosecutor was kidnapped from his car in broad daylight, murdered in cold blood and then dumped in a swamp with his body inside a cement-filled steel drum, but I hear none of these politicians making an issue out of it. Why?

Now, I'm not implying anything. My point is simple. It is that there are issues that directly concern either the rakyat or the Putrajaya that deserve far more media attention and protests than a couple of photos showing a Member of the Parliament with a civil society leader, despite the later's disputed claims to innocence.

DISCLAIMER: This story is the personal opinion of the writer.

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