Nurul Izzah's reflections: Leadership, love and lessons learned

Nurul Izzah on family, leadership and public service

13 May 2024 05:17pm
Nurul Izzah Anwar during an interview with Sinar Daily, recently.
Nurul Izzah Anwar during an interview with Sinar Daily, recently.

SHAH ALAM - In a rare and candid Mother's Day podcast session, Prime Minister's daughter Nurul Izzah Anwar opened up about her unexpected journey into politics, the trials of leadership and the unwavering strength she draws from her parents.

"I never envisioned myself diving into politics and activism.

"But my father, Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim, he's always been the beacon of optimism, urging us to believe in change," the Malaysian Humanitarian Aid and Relief (Mahar) advisor told Sinar Daily recently.

Reflecting on her father's resilience and the demands of political life, Nurul Izzah stressed the importance of leadership in challenging times post-pandemic.

"My principle in life is that when you lose the election or even win, it's part and parcel of your own challenge.

"You overcome times of strive and times of success.

"So, I had never lost an election until 2022 and it was a good experience.

"What I see is that governing is a huge responsibility.

"It's very challenging especially in these days and times, especially people coming after the pandemic.

"Leaders have to come together and try to resolve their issues," she said.

Acknowledging the weight of public office, Nurul Izzah prioritised the importance of mental preparedness.

"I explained to my family, including my husband, kids and siblings, that our financial situation wouldn't change because the role is a public service, not a financial one.

"It's important to understand the demands of public office mentally. You're held to a higher standard and constantly scrutinised.

"While I'm happy and proud, the challenges are daunting.

"Perhaps I worry too much, but the time limitation to implement impactful policies and make a real difference in people's lives weighs heavily on me," she said.

Turning her attention to her mother, Datuk Seri Wan Azizah Wan Ismail, Nurul Izzah praised her unwavering support and resilience.

"My father's greatest decision in life, in my opinion, was marrying Datuk Seri Wan Azizah.

"Her patience is remarkable. During the years my father was imprisoned on politically motivated charges, the fight for justice continued.

"We knew we needed to take action, which led us to the United Nations.

"Dr Wan Azizah's singular purpose was clear: to lead the movement – as a mother, leader of Keadilan, and at one point, the Opposition leader.

"In such a demanding role, a healthy dose of reality and patience is crucial.

"She provided us with an abundance of love, especially during challenging times. Her unwavering support, including visits to my father in prison, was truly heroic," she said.

As for her upbringing, Nurul Izzah reminisced about her mother's evolution from a strict disciplinarian to a more laid-back figure.

"My mother, a dedicated ophthalmologist at a government hospital, exemplified the life of service. A heartfelt thank you to all doctors!

"Her commitment to her profession undoubtedly strengthened her.

"Her evenings were a whirlwind of ceramah, childcare and political campaigns.

"Yet, Dr Wan Azizah never lost her warmth and approachability.

"Raising six children, five daughters and one son, was no easy feat.

"Her kindness touched us all and I can't help but admire her strength in raising such a large family.

"In her younger years, she had a stricter demeanor, but thankfully, with age, she has become more relaxed," Nurul Izzah added.