17 February, 2009

Eli quits over nude photos.

17 Feb 2009

The events of the past two days have shown an insidious and underhanded attempt by certain quarters to smear my reputation. My personal life and privacy have been violated.

These people have conspired to undermine my credibility both as a Selangor State Exco Member as well as a Keadilan leader. Although the smear campaign directed towards me has caused me a lot of anguish, I am aware that the real objective is to discredit Parti Keadilan Rakyat.

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. I have broken no law. I stand by the fundamental principle in a democracy that everyone has a right to privacy.

Parti KeADILan Rakyat stands for ‘new’ politics that holds justice and human rights as core values which transcend gender, ethnicity and class. ‘New’ politics also means we rise above gutter politics.

It is precisely this that I believe that these attacks will continue with greater intensity, and I have no doubt that Umno and Barisan Nasional will 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.

I have received overwhelming support from my family, my constituents, Pakatan Rakyat colleagues, friends and the general public. However, in the interest of my party, I have decided to offer my resignation as a Selangor State Exco Member as well as the State Assemblywoman for Bukit Lanjan.

I will discuss with the Menteri Besar to arrange for the proper handover of my responsibilities. I will continue to serve the people and fight for justice in Malaysia.

Last but not least, I am very grateful to the people who have placed their trust in me and my party, and I thank them for the opportunity that they have given me to serve. Words cannot possibly express my eternal gratitude to outstanding staff members and fellow ADUNs, and most of all, my Menteri Besar Tan Sri Khalid Ibrahim who has given me his unwavering support and the opportunity to work with him.

If I have let anyone down or offended anyone, I offer my sincere apologies.

EXCO for Tourism, Consumer Affairs and the Environment

Elizabeth Wong, a prominent Malaysian opposition legislator resigned Tuesday after photographs of her sleeping naked were circulated to the public by cell phone, an embarrassing disclosure that she slammed as a plot to discredit her party.

Opposition Leader Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim, however, told 37-year-old Elizabeth Wong to go on extended leave, and said it will decide later whether to accept her resignation from the central Selangor state assembly.

“Elizabeth Wong has spoken at length to Azizah and me. We have discussed the issues and we understand her reasons and the decision she has taken,” said Anwar, referring to his wife Datin Seri Wan Azizah Ismail.

“We have asked Eli to go on leave, we will meet her again to discuss,” Anwar told reporters at a press conference here.

He described Wong as a very important figure in the Selangor government with an excellent track record.

“Eli is a very responsible leader, has been with the party since its inception and I appreciate the widespread support for her to stay. We will invite her again and see what is best,” said Anwar.

Anwar said that he had discussed the matter with Pakatan Rakyat leaders including Pas’s Datuk Seri Hadi Awang who had asked for the issue to be resolved by PKR.

The Permatang Pauh MP described the circulation of Wong’s private photographs as part of a bigger conspiracy to destroy PKR.

“I can only use the strongest possible terms to condemn the smear tactics used against her. One can only wonder to what depths the people behind this will stoop to achieve their aims,” he added.

“The last few days must have been trying and stressful for her and her family. We hope the mass media will give her the breathing space she deserves.”

He also took the opportunity to slam Barisan Nasional leaders saying that they have no right to talk about morality.

“Let us hear from Najib first on morality,” said Anwar, referring to the deputy prime minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak.

"We asked her to rethink her options. I am angry. I am personally disgusted with this kind of gutter politics by the National Front", party chief Anwar told reporters.

Yesterday Selangor Opposition Leader Datuk Seri Dr Mohd Khir Toyo asked Wong to resign immediately saying that she was morally unfit to continue as executive councillor or assemblyman.

Meanwhile, Datuk Seri Dr Chua Soi Lek, the former health minister today expressed his sympathy to Wong after the circulation of her naked photographs led to her offer to quit as a state legislator and from the state government.

“I can understand what Wong has been going through in the last 48 hours,” he said in a statement.

Comment on Elizabeth Wong’s matter

I can understand how Elizabeth Wong is going through in the last 48 hours.

I can only say that she has my sympathy and support. I feel that she has done the right thing by offering to resign as EXCO and state representative and I fully agree that everyone has the right to privacy.

Elizabeth Wong must stay strong and be brave to face the storm. This is not the end of the world.

Finally, it’s your determination, honesty and hard work that will earn you understanding, support and recognition.

Just over a year ago, Dr Chua was forced to resign from all political posts after he admitted to being the man in a sex DVD that was being circulated to his constituents in Johor.

Statement by women’s groups condemning the politically motivated attack on Elizabeth Wong’s pesonality and privacy:

The Joint Action Group for Gender Equality (*JAG*) is appalled that private, sexually intimate photos of Elizabeth Wong, Assemblyperson for Bukit Lanjan, Selangor, was taken and circulated without her consent.

JAG is very concerned to note that politics is being practised in an
increasingly violent, sensationalised and sexualised manner. We note that in recent months, we have seen the sex tape scandal of Chua Soi Lek, Molotov cocktails being thrown at the house of Teresa Kok and now these photos of Elizabeth Wong being circulated.

These photos are being released at a time when the tussle for power between Barisan National (*BN*) and Pakatan Rakyat (*PR*) is
increasingly intense. Under no circumstance should anyone sink to this low level of politicking.

JAG cannot help but note that Ms Wong is also victimised as a single woman, as highlighted in the media. Such tactics meant to deliberately cast moral aspersions and indirectly question her ability to carry out her duties as a politician and as a leader deserve no less than our utmost condemnation.

JAG demands that the police forthwith investigates the matter, and bring the culprit or culprits to court. We also hope to hear strong statements from both the BN and PR condemning the circulation of sexually intimate photos and videos as a means of practising politics.

This underhanded tactic must not be part of the political culture of this nation.

Maria Chin Abdullah
Executive Director

Persatuan Kesedaran Komuniti Selangor (Empower)

Via Susan Loone

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