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KOTA KINABALU, Nov 24, 2015:

A recent photo of Lembah Pantai MP Nurul Izzah Anwar posing with Sulu’s Princess Jacel Kiram may send the wrong signals to the Philippine militants.

The Federation of Chinese Associations Sabah (FCAS) president Datuk Seri TC Goh in disclosing this also expressed both regret and concern over the episode in which photos of Nurul Izzah and Jacel had gone viral on the social media.

“Nurul’s posing with Jacel during an official function held in Manila, the Philippines, might send the wrong message to Philippine militant and terrorist groups, and this would have a far-reaching impact on the sovereignty of Malaysia, and the security of Sabah in particular.”

Goh is also the president of the Federation of Hokkien Associations of Sabah and Labuan.

He said he felt relieved with Nurul Izzah’s clarification subsequently that both she and Jacel had during the said occasion defended the sovereignty of Sabah in Malaysia, besides supporting the ongoing peace talks in the southern Philippines initiated by Malaysia.

But the photos had nonetheless done the damage, he added.

Goh said Nurul Izzah had attended the function at the invitation of the council on Philippines 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.

But being a lawmaker and daughter of PKR de facto leader Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim, he said Nurul Izzah should have been more careful and sensitive when meeting Jacel, who is the representative and spokesperson for the Sulu Sultanate, which had persisted with the Sabah claim, besides being instrumental for the Tanduo invasion by the Sulu militants.

“The majority of Malaysians were rather disappointed, angry even, when they looked at the pictures (of Nurul Izzah posing with Jacel).

“But the Philippines militant and terrorist groups may have a different interpretation of the pictures.”

He was worried that they might take it as a form of “tacit support and encouragement” for them (the Philippines militant and terrorist groups) to continue with their agenda, such as their claim on Sabah, invasion of Sabah and the kidnap-for-ransom scheme.

“This might even give them the wrong idea that they can influence or manipulate the politics of Malaysia.

“Just imagine if and when Anwar is released one day, they might use it as an excuse for them to claim credit, or even to invade our country,” said Goh.

He added that while he believed Nurul Izzah had no bad intention in posing with Jacel, complete with the “Release Anwar” posters, he nonetheless feared that the other parties might think differently.

“This is especially so when we Malaysians have yet to overcome the terrible pain over the repeated cross-border kidnapping incidents committed by the Philippines militant groups.

“This includes the most recent killing of Malaysian hostage Bernard Then by the Abu Sayyaf. We do not wish to continue to suffer from such misfortune.”

Goh also claimed to have received feedback and complaints from many concerned members of the public, lamenting that they were hurt by Nurul Izzah’s action.

He said it was the people’s aspiration that politicians in the country were more cautious in their actions and speeches in the present environment.

He hoped the government would continue to step up security in Sabah so as to better protect the state and its people.

“This is the time that our politicians and leaders, from both sides of the divide, come together to send out a clear message to the entire world that the sovereignty of Malaysia is not exchangeable!”

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