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Saturday, 25 January 2014 | MYT 1:01 PM

Nurul Izzah divorce: Can public figures pick and choose publicity?

PETALING JAYA: “News is news. And if that means reporting about an application for divorce by one of the sweetest public figures around, so be it.”

That was the logic expressed in a Facebook post by Vanitha Nadaraj, the country editor of Singapore portal The Establishment Post, when detailing why she could not accept the arguments for Lembah Pantai MP Nurul Izzah Anwar to be left alone and not have her privacy encroached upon.

Vanitha’s original article on the online publication, entitled ‘News of Nurul Izzah and an alleged divorce causes a stir’, highlighted how the public was shocked over news of the “young, pretty, smart, charismatic and prime minister material” PKR vice-president seeking a divorce from her husband, Raja Ahmad Shahrir Iskandar Raja Salim.

When sharing her own thoughts on the social media network, Vanitha said that public sentiment may be different “if Nurul had a face like the back of a bus and was a bossy, bitchy politician who always came out with stupid statements.”

She questioned the amount of privacy that should be accorded to the PKR vice president, as well as the determinants for the amount of privacy that a public figure deserves.

“But this issue goes beyond the privacy debate. It is about a young politician who needs to learn to deal with a personal problem while in the limelight. That is what prime ministers and presidents do.

“And that is how this issue should be looked at - a chance for Nurul to prepare herself for situations where she will need to hold her head up high and go on despite negative publicity that could affect her popularity. That is what makes a good statesman,” Vanitha explained.

She added that everyone wants a leader who can withstand any problem and lead the country from glory to glory, not one who needs to be mollycoddled and for naysayers to be silenced unfairly: “We are, after all, advocating free speech.”

Though Vanitha found it heart-warming to know that the mother of two had so many supporters and people wanting the best for her, she cautioned that “protectionism does not work - whether it is for an individual or for the country.”

“People need to face challenges and learn to overcome them. That is how we all grow,” she said.

Nurul Izzah, 33, had filed a divorce petition at the lower Syariah Court at Jalan Duta.

She sought to divorce 35-year-old Raja Ahmad Shahrir Iskandar in the petition filed in December.

The Lower Syariah Court here confirmed that Nurul Izzah,  who is the eldest daughter of Opposition Leader Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim, filed the petition under the Islamic Family Law (Federal Territories) Act 1984.

The case, number 14001-055-0023-2014, was first mentioned before Syariah Judge Ab Malek Awang on Tuesday and the next mention date was fixed for Feb 18.

However, it is believed that the couple’s family have persuaded them to reconcile.

The petition is expected to be withdrawn soon, according to sources close to the family.

Tags / Keywords: Nurul Izzah , divorce , Courts Crime , Raja Shahrir Iskandar


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