Nurul Izzah Anwar

Posted by Awanama | Posted on 11:37 PG

Nurul Izzah Anwar

An interview with Nurul Izzah Anwar

Posted: 29 Oct 2012 09:51 PM PDT

By Mariam Mohktar
Yahoo! Malaysia Newsroom
23 February 2012

Nurul Izzah Anwar may look coy but the lady under the tudung is anything but delicate. When she was 18-years old, family life was thrown into turmoil, when her father, Anwar Ibrahim, Malaysia’s former finance and Deputy Prime minister, was arrested on charges of sodomy and corruption.

When most teenagers battle raging hormones and the transition into the adult world; Nurul was catapulted into the world of politics. She campaigned for her father’s release, both at home and overseas. In 2004, she graduated with a BSc. in Electrical and Electronic Engineering from University Tenaga Nasional and received a Masters in International Relations from the Johns Hopkins University in the USA, in 2006.

In 2008, she challenged Shahrizat Abdul Jalil in Lembah Pantai. Shahrizat had held the BN stronghold since 1995. Turnout was 73% and Nurul secured a majority of 2,895 votes.

Today, life in the political fast lane is set to get more hectic for the 31-year old. The current Women Family and Community Development Minister, Shahrizat is embroiled in the National Feedlot Corporation (NFC) scandal whilst rumours circulate that BN’s Raja Nong Chik Raja Zainal Abidin, Federal Territories Minister, might possibly stand against Nurul in GE-13.

Despite the government’s 30% quota for women in decision making roles, women in politics fall short of this target, Nurul’s response was “Flexible working hours in politics would help.”

Life as an MP came soon after she had given birth. She successfully juggled her life as a mother, wife and politician. Whilst most women shun political life, Nurul has embraced it with vigour.

“In Islam, women play an important role in shaping society, bringing up children, and public participation,” she said.

In her 2008 GE manifesto, Nurul promised to improve the overall quality of life in her constituency, make the Kuala Lumpur City Council, (DBKL) more accountable; and reduce crime by making the police focus on combating criminal activity.

She says, “My primary duty is as a legislator representing the people of Lembah Pantai in the Dewan Rakyat.”

“I have brought legislative changes to improve the livelihood of my constituents through debates like the water shortage issue in Bangsar. I have questioned the Ministry for Energy, Green Technology and Water for not approving the change of obsolete pipes in Bangsar, despite their promise to the Residents Association.

“Last year, I motioned a private member’s bill to end ‘archaic’ emergencies in Malaysia, to return supremacy to our Federal Constitution and ensure that our laws are governed by it.”

Nurul has called for a democratically elected Mayor in Kuala Lumpur and a transparent disclosure of DBKL’s annual budget. She described her “walkabouts during the water shortages, to understand and gauge the situation better” and highlighted “lax enforcement by DBKL.”

She detailed her role as the liaison between her constituents and DBKL. Local government services such as waste management, road maintenance, social services, and infrastructure upkeep were under the purview of the BN-appointed Mayor.

“In the absence of local government elections, I serve my constituents by attending DBKL budget seminars, hold meetings with DBKL officials, and ensuring that DBKL information is disseminated to residents.

“The disconnect between local authority and the elected representative is the reason behind calling for the fundamental right of the rakyat to exercise the third vote, and the right to elect their own mayor.”

Nurul outlined her second duty of operating a service centre as a direct interface with her constituents, with regular walkabouts, meetings and community programs such as gotong-royong (cooperation) and free clinics.

She remains optimistic although there are constraints and limitations of being an opposition MP, such as having to work with the Federal Government controlled DBKL, and the denial of funds.

“Although we lack ministerial and government agencies’ support, our team of dedicated volunteer doctors and nurses successfully organised over 200 clinic sessions and with the National Cancer Society, 300 women on low incomes, received pap smear tests and mammogram screenings.

“Despite the near blackout of mainstream media news on my activities, my press conferences with hawkers, taxi drivers, and affected Malaysians help keep pressure on DBKL and PDRM.

“You can check for more information on my activities,” she said.

She described her third duty, as the PKR vice president and Pakatan Rakyat leadership council member with duties and responsibilities in shaping policies, political infrastructure development and engagement with nationally and international stakeholders.

“I also frequent the Malay, rural and East Malaysian heartland as part of Keadilan’s outreach program. I balance my life with my fourth duty which is my personal duties as wife, mother and daughter,” she said.

During the four years in which she cut her political teeth, she is aware of the grumblings by some that she has not done enough for Lembah Pantai and has not focused on her constituents.

“In the final analysis, the voters decide if I have done my best given the circumstances. Even the Federal Territories Minister has spent a disproportionate amount of time and resources in Lembah Pantai, and recently, the PM and DPM came to ‘visit’.”

When asked if her comments and stance on issues were hers or merely a reflection of her father’s stand, Nurul firmly replied, “All issues are my own.”

Despite never appearing to disagree with the Opposition leader, and asked whether this was just to present a unified front she said, “It is easy for it to be similar not only to Datuk Seri Anwar but in fact to all opposition leaders because we are facing the same corrupted regime and all our policies and positions are based on justice, equality, and truth.”

“As a politician your credibility is all you have, and your public statements must mirror your inner conscience.”

When told about Malaysians who feared the country’s descent into a form of apartheid, with educational institutions or hotels, stipulating only Malay/Muslim clients, she said, “Legislation to eliminate discrimination can be an alternative. But education, leaders and policies that draw the communities away from such practices will bring all races together.”

In the interview, Nurul was asked if the opposition’s message of a true multiracial society had failed to reach the rakyat because many Malays felt threatened and feared being “losers” if the opposition were in power.

“We have extremist groups being backed by the government. We must communicate clearly and consistently, the reality and successes, of the four states that Pakatan Rakyat governs.”

Nurul is adamant that the multiracial Keadilan will fight to end Malaysia’s divisive racial politics and insists that young Malaysians, should stand up and work together.

Extracted from Yahoo! News:

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