KUALA LUMPUR, Jan 14 — Despite alleged abuse and kidnapping by a Kelantan prince Tengku Muhammad Fakhry Petra, Indonesian model Manohara Odelia Pinot said her experience does not reflect the life of Malay rulers in Malaysia.
In an interview with Singapore’s Straits Times following the resignation of Tengku Fakhry’s older brother Sultan Muhammad V as Yang di-Pertuan Agong, Manohara said the incident has however shaped her life and eventual entry into politics.
“Kings are like ordinary people, some are good, some are bad... Just because I had a bad experience with one does not mean all are like that,” she was quoted saying.
Since the incident, Manohara said she has learned to be more positive and try to help those in need.
“It happened. I believe that everything happens for a reason and that has shaped me to be who I am today,” she reportedly said.
“When I see people needing help, and having been in a position where I desperately needed help, as much as I can, I will [help].”
Manohara is now expected to run as a legislative candidate in the electoral districts of Surabaya and Sidoarjo for NasDem or the National Democratic Party, part of the ruling coalition that is backing incumbent president Joko Widodo to stay in power.
An activist in humanitarian relief work and wildlife conservation, Manohara said she hopes to make a difference in a country where “concern for animals and the environment is very much lacking”.
Manohara also explained that her dive into politics was inspired by former Jakarta governor Basuki Tjahaja Purnama, or popularly known as Ahok.
“I had no interest in politics until Ahok came along. We got an example of how things could be done right,” she reportedly added.
Manohara made international headlines in 2009 due to her escape to Singapore following alleged claims of domestic abuse.
The following year, Malaysia’s high court awarded Tengku Fakhry RM6 million in damages after the Kelantan prince filed a defamation suit over allegations of abuse against herself and her mother Daisy Fajarina.
Despite having not visited Malaysia since the incident, Manohara clarified that she bears no ill will or grudge against the country.
“People keep getting the wrong idea, thinking that I despise Malaysia, that I hate Malaysia. It’s not about Malaysia.
“It’s not about Malaysia, it’s about that one specific individual. It had nothing to do with the whole country,” she said.