By Shuman Vasu
Barisan Nasional had better think twice before rushing off to celebrate the Dewan Rakyat decision to refer Lembah Pantai MP Nurul Izzah Anwar to the Rights and Privileges Committee over her photograph with Sulu princess Jacel Kiram.
The move to censure her has every chance of backfiring on BN.
Nurul, despite being among the most admired opposition politicians in the country, has pretty much been under the radar lately, concentrating her energy on ensuring proper medical treatment for her father and fighting for his release from prison. Other opposition figures such as Azmin Ali, Rafizi Ramli and Tony Pua have been more prominent in criticising government policies and actions.
In blowing up the matter to this ridiculous extent, BN has just thrust her into the national and global limelight again, and she might end up as a martyr.
There are still many supporters of Anwar Ibrahim out there in both rural and urban areas and among both Malays and non-Malays. One can expect them to be fuming over BN’s apparent determination to punish him and his family at all costs.
Bear in mind that Nurul has already apologised over her meeting with Jacel, and has even been questioned by the police. Furthermore, according to Sabah PKR at least, the meeting is no big deal to the people of Sabah.
In any case, the Sabah Government’s decision to bar her from the state should be punishment enough.
This is not the first time that the government has made people popular, or more popular, by persecuting them. Adam Adli Abdul Halim, for example, was a nobody until he was repeatedly arrested, charged and jailed.
Maria Chin Abdullah was also something of a minor activist before she was thrust into the limelight by BN’s determination to paint an ugly picture of her.
If Nurul is suspended from Parliament, or even if she is merely reprimanded, she will come out stronger in the rakyat’s eyes. – FMT