Updated on 17 Feb 2009 at 8.27pm
PETALING JAYA, 17 Feb 2009:Parti Keadilan Rakyat (PKR) advisor Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim has asked Selangor state executive councillor Elizabeth Wong, who has offered to resign following the release of her nude photographs, to go on leave.
“I told Eli (Elizabeth) that we are prepared to defend her good name. She’s an important leader in Selangor with a good track record as an assemblyperson and state executive councillor,” he told reporters at the Parliament lobby here today, reports Bernama.
Wong, 37, of PKR, offered to resign from her council post and Bukit Lanjan seat today after her nude photographs were posted on the Internet.
Earlier, Selangor Menteri Besar Tan Sri Khalid Ibrahim will seek the advice of the Sultan of Selangor over Wong’s offer to resign over nude photos of her being made public.
“I have received a letter from YB Elizabeth Wong stating her offer to resign from her position as a state executive councillor (exco) and as Bukit Lanjan assembly[person]. This turn of events is unfortunate as YB Elizabeth Wong has been an exemplary exco member,” Khalid said in a press statement today.
“I shall be seeking an audience with His Royal Highness, the Sultan of Selangor, to brief him on the issue and seek his guidance,” Khalid added.
Wong, from PKR, yesterday said she was a victim of a smear campaign after she was informed that nude photos of her were being circulated. An intimate video of Wong is also reportedly in circulation.
She tendered her resignation letter today.
Yesterday, Khalid said the Pakatan Rakyat-led Selangor government would stand by Wong, 37, a former human rights activist.
“As I have stated yesterday, over the last 11 months, she has worked very hard in carrying her duties,” Khalid said in today’s press statement.
He said that in view of the trying circumstances and obvious stress Wong was undergoing, he has advised her to go on leave and take a deserved rest.
“It is most unfortunate that certain elements have resorted to such despicable acts to smear her name and integrity. I am sure Malaysians and the people of Selangor will reject the use of such a shameful tactics, and join me in condemning the desperate people responsible,” Khalid added.
Wong gives statement
Meanwhile in KUALA LUMPUR, Bernama reports that police will record a statement from Wong today to identify the person behind the circulation of her nude photographs.
Selangor polcie chief Datuk Khalid Bakar said the politician would give her statement at the Petaling Jaya district police headquarters this afternoon.
“She has informed us that she will be giving her statement over this issue and that her statement could assist us to find the person responsible for circulating those nude photographs.
“If necessary, police will seek assistance from the Multimedia and Communication Commission to determine the genuineness of those photographs. There are many angles to look into before we wrap up the case,” he told Bernama when contacted.
Khalid also said that police would not delay their probe even though Wong had offered to resign as state executive councillor and Bukit Lanjan state assemblyperson as the two were different things.
Khalid said the case is at its initial stage and police could not reveal much as they needed more time.
“We have to determine many things in this case, such as the date and location the photographs were taken and the person appearing in the pictures. We promise a thorough investigation.”
In PKR’s interest
Earlier today, Wong, a first time assemblyperson who was elected in the March 2008 elections, told a press conference she has offered to resign as state assemblyperson and exco member in the party’s interest.
“I have done no wrong. I am not ashamed of my sexuality as a woman and as a single person. I have broken no law,” a tearful Wong told reporters at the PKR headquarters in Tropicana today.
Wong on the verge of breaking down during the press conference
She added that the smear campaign’s real objective was to discredit PKR.
“PKR stands for new politics which has human rights as its core values which upholds privacy and transcends gender and class.
“New politics also means we rise above gutter politics,” Wong said.
After the press conference, Wong was ushered out of the room by party leaders from PKR, DAP and PAS, making it impossible for journalists to ask any questions.
The party leaders present at the press conference were PKR vice-president R Sivarasa, supreme council members Dr Xavier Jayakumar and Irene Fernandez, and Wanita chief Zuraidah Kamaruddin. Also present were DAP Wanita national secretary Teresa Kok and PAS women’s wing chief Noridah Salleh.
After the press conference, Wong went into a meeting with Sivarasa. At 12.35pm, she left the PKR headquarters without speaking to reporters.
Party leaders to decide
PKR media coordinator Ginie Lim said PKR advisor Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim and Selangor Menteri Besar Tan Sri Khalid Ibrahim would discuss the matter and issue a statement later today.
Other leaders including from the Barisan Nasional (BN) have also condemned the smear campaign against Wong.
In a statement yesterday, Wong said the photos were taken without her consent, while she was asleep.
Wong is Wanita PKR information chief, and in the Selangor government, she is the exco in charge of tourism, environment and consumer affairs.
In the 2008 general election, Wong polled 12,125 votes against the incumbent assemblyperson, Gerakan’s Yong Dai Ying, who only secured 6,970 votes.
If Wong’s resignation is accepted, another by-election will be in the offing. Already, by-elections are scheduled for the Bukit Gantang seat in Perak because of the death of a Member of Parliament and the Bukit Selambau seat in Kedah because of the assemblyperson’s resignation.
Both by-elections will be held on 7 April.