PETALING JAYA: Lembah Pantai MP Nurul Izzah Anwar has defended her meeting with Jacel Kiram, saying that it was arranged by the Filipino authorities.
The PKR vice president said she had gone to the Philippines on Nov 9 with Batu MP Tian Chua, as part of the party's delegation to meet political stakeholders in the country.
"In the meeting I stressed our support for Malaysian government initiatives in peace negotiations in southern Philippines.
"I wish to reiterate my support in defending the sovereignty of Sabah as part of the Malaysian federation," said Nurul in a statement on Thursday.
According to Nurul, the people she met were legitimate stakeholders and civil society leaders.
They included former Batangas governor and Congressman Hermilando Mandanas, Congress members Regina Reyes and Silvestre Bello, Dean of Law Amading Valdez, former cabinet member Romy Nery, former undersecretary of justice Wencie Andanar and staff members of the vice-president of the Philippines and the mayor of Manila.
She said the list was decided by the council on Philippine 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.
Pictures of Nurul together with the daughter of the former self-styled Sulu Sultan who ordered the Lahad Datu intrusion caused an uproar on social media.
Many questioned why Nurul had met with Jacel Kiram, whose father the late Jamalul Kiram III sent 200 of his 'Royal Sulu Army' to invade Sabah in Feb 2013.
In one picture, Nurul was seen having dinner with Jacel and an unidentified man while in two other pictures, Nurul poses with Jacel holding a 'Release Anwar Immediately' poster.