Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Wong offers to quit, PKR says hold on

Updated: Tuesday February 17, 2009 MYT 4:48:19 PM

PETALING JAYA: Selangor executive council member and Bukit Lanjan assemblyman Elizabeth Wong, whose nude photographs are being circulated, has tendered her resignation from both posts, but party leaders have yet to accept it.

PKR adviser and de facto leader Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim said the party would make its decision after Wong comes back from extended leave, but declined to say how long she will be off.

“No one in Pakatan Rakyat is pressuring her to leave,” he said, adding that he was concerned with the “pattern of tarnishing PKR MPs’ reputations.”

“This is a nasty, humiliating personal attack on her and we have seen this pattern of attack in Perak, Kedah and now, in Selangor,” he said.

Earlier this month, Bukit Selambau assemblyman V. Arumugam of PKR quit after allegations of a marriage scandal surfaced.

“Eli (Wong) is an important leader in our state government with a good track record. We leave it to the wisdom of the Selangor Mentri Besar whether to accept her resignation,” Anwar said.

“Wong has spoken at length to (Anwar’s wife and PKR president Datuk Seri Dr Wan) Azizah Ismail and me.

“We have discussed the issues and we understand her reasons and the decisions that she has taken. We also condemned in the strongest possible terms certain elements for resorting to this pattern of attack,” he told reporters after chairing the PKR pre-council meeting at the Parliament House in Kuala Lumpur.

Anwar, who could not attend the opening of the new Parliament meeting on Monday after missing his flight from Doha, said he would also stand by Mentri Besar Tan Sri Khalid Ibrahim’s request for Wong to go on a “short break” to avoid any undue pressure on her.

“We have also asked her to reconsider all her options. After the break, I will meet with her again to further discuss the issue. Pakatan Rakyat leaders have also agreed to leave it to PKR to make a decision about her status,” he said.

Wong announced she was offering to quit her posts on Tuesday morning, saying she would have a talk with Khalid to arrange for the proper handover of her responsibilities.

Khalid confirmed that he had received Wong’s resignation letter but advised her to go on “leave and have a deserved rest.”

He said he would get the Sultan of Selangor Sultan Sharafuddin Idris Shah’s views on Wong’s decision to quit all posts first.

“I shall be seeking an audience with his His Royal Highness the Sultan of Selangor to brief him on the issue and seek his guidance,” he said.

“This turn of events is unfortunate as ... Wong has been an exemplary exco member,” Khalid said in a statement.

“It is most unfortunate that certain elements have resorted to such despicable acts to smear her (Wong’s) name and integrity.

“I am sure Malaysians and the people of Selangor will reject the use of such shameful tactics and join me in condemning the people responsible,” he added.

If PKR accepts her resignation sooner rather than later, Malaysians might face three by-election within the next two months.

There is the now-vacated Bukit Selambau state seat in Kedah, as well as the Bukit Gantang parliamentary seat in Perak with the death of its Member of Parliament Roslan Shaharum of PAS on Feb 9.

The Election Commission has fixed April 7 for those two by-elections, with nomination day being March 29.

Its chairman Tan Sri Abdul Aziz Mohd Yusof said that the Commission would not rule out the possibility of holding all three by-elections at the same time if and when it is officially informed of Wong’s resignation of the Bukit Lanjang seat.

At a press conference earlier Tuesday, Wong said that she would continue to serve the people and “fight for justice for Malaysia.”

She said that although the smear campaign directed against her has caused a lot of anguish, she is aware that the real objective is to discredit PKR.

“I have done nothing wrong; I wish to state that I am not ashamed of my sexuality as a woman and as a single person,” Wong said outside the PKR headquarters in Petaling Jaya.

Also present were PKR vice-president Sivarasa Rasiah and her fellow exco members Teresa Kok and Xavier Jeyakumar.

“I have broken no law; I stand by the fundamenal principles of a democracy that everyone has a right to privacy,” Wong said, breaking down in tears.

She said that she believed that the attacks would continue in greater intensity and PKR’s political rivals would continue to “manipulate the situation.”

“Accordingly, I have decided to make a stand in the interest of the party and its struggle for the people,” Wong said.

Many supporters who had gathered called for her to withdraw her offer to resign.

Wong was the state exco member in charge of Tourism, Consumer Affairs and the Environment, and the information chief of the Women’s wing of PKR and of her division Petaling Jaya Utara.

Without consent
Wong was informed last Friday by journalists from a daily that they were in possession of intimate photographs of her and that the daily was about to publish a story about them.

She described the distribution and publication of the materials a malicious attack on her personality, a gross outrage of her modesty and a gross invasion of her privacy. She lodged a police report on Sunday night.

OCPD Asst Comm Arjunaidi Mohamed confirmed the report and said that Wong had heard about the photographs being circulated from friends and journalists.

“We will be calling everyone involved to give their statements as soon as possible,” he said on Monday.

Selangor police chief Deputy Comm Datuk Khalid Abu Bakar said police have already questioned reporters from two English dailies who received the pictures.

“Selangor police have also set up a special taskforce to investigate the matter,” he said Tuesday, adding that they expect to take Wong’s statement later Tuesday.

Police have warned that anyone found distributing the pictures could face a jail term of up to three years, a fine, or both, under Section 292 of the Penal Code for distributing and having in possession material containing pornographic elements.

There is talk that the pictures, allegedly snapped without her consent or knowledge, might have been taken and circulated by an ex-boyfriend.

Support from many
The distribution of her photographs has incensed women’s groups and leaders from both sides of the political divide.

MCA Wanita chief Datin Chew Mei Fun condemned the person or persons responsible, saying:

“We are outraged by such shameful acts of using women as sexual objects. It is an outright invasion of the privacy of women as well as an exploitation of women.”

Chew said taking photographs of bodily parts without consent or knowledge is against the law and punishable under the Penal Code (Act 574) and publishing such pornographic materials in the public domain also constituted to a violation of the same Act.

The Joint Action Group for Gender Equality (JAG) expressed shock over the unauthorised circulation of the pictures, saying that Wong was being victimised as a single woman, in a tactic meant to deliberately cast moral aspersions and indirectly question her ability to carry out her duties as a politician.

The group – comprising Awam, Empower, WAO and WCC – said it hoped to hear strong statements from both Barisan Nasional and Pakatan Rakyat condemning the circulation of sexually intimate photos and videos as a means of practising politics.

Wong, in a personal message on her blog, thanked everyone for their messages of support.

“I am grateful for your support and kind words of encouragement, especially from my constituents, my party and Pakatan members, exco members and old friends. This means the world to me.

“I also wish to thank some fellow politicians from the other opposite end of the political divide for their encouragement too,” she said.

Wong won the Bukit Lanjan seat with a majority of over 5,000, the second largest majority won by a PKR state assembly candidate in Selangor, in the general election on March 8 last year.


seals: Why should you quit? Don't accept defeat when it is not your fault. Never listel to Toyol's. The Toyol's purpose is to do damage. Don't quit. Be strong......the people needs you and you got a strong mandate. Stay and prove them wrong.

1 comment:

disgusted said...

yes, people, dont sleep, dont mandi, dont even go to toilet, dont do anything without ur clothes on!!! u never know.. some idiot photographer will be lurking nearby!