Thursday, April 16, 2009

Eli Wong back at work


SHAH ALAM: Bukit Lanjan assemblyman and Selangor executive councillor Elizabeth Wong reported to work at the State Secretariat at 9.30am Thursday after two months on leave triggered when revealing pictures of her emerged.

Wong, who arrived at the state secretariat building at about 9.30am in her official Toyota Camry, was greeted by reporters as well as fellow exco member Ronnie Liu who had been awaiting her arrival since 8.00am.

Liu had also made arrangements for 12 stalks of yellow roses to be presented to Wong, who is in charge of the state governments tourism, consumer affairs and environment portfolio, upon her arrival at the state secretariat.

Bkt Lanjan assemblyman and Selangor executive councillor Elizabeth Wong reported to work at the State Secretariat at 9.30am Thursday.

Wong thanked members of the media profusely and requested to be allowed to go to her office as she had a 10.00am meeting with Tourism Selangor.

“I have a lot of catching-up to do in my office and have to prepare for the meeting,” she added.

Sporting a new hairstyle and a new pair of glasses, Wong said she had met Mentri Besar Tan Sri Khalid Ibrahim Wed night and had been briefed on what she had to do and the tasks awaiting her.

About her immediate plans, Wong said: “I just want to go back to my office and concentrate on my work as advised by the mentri besar and Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim.

“I want to thank the media, my family, party members and friends. Please allow me to go back to my office to do my work and to serve the people,” said Wong before walking to the lift to go to her second floor office.

When asked about former Mentri Besar Datuk Seri Dr Mohd Khir Toyo’s threat that the Barisan Nasional would exploit her situation to the fullest, Wong said that she was only interested in her job.

Meanwhile, when contacted this morning Dr Mohd Khir reiterated that the Barisan would exploit the situation to the fullest.

“We will use the matter against Pakatan Rakyat like how they use the Altantuya murder issue against Najib (Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak),” he said.

He added he was not surprised with the outcome of Wong’s case as he had anticipated that this would happen.

He alleged that the Pakatan had also orchestrated the gatherings where Bukit Lanjan constituents had asked for Wong to continue serving them.

“They just showed a wayang show for everyone’s benefit,” he said.

In a statement on Wednesday, Wong said she had accepted the state government’s offer to her to remain in office.

“My only wish is to serve my constituents and the state to the best of my abilities and, with the help and cooperation of the people, make this state, this country, a better place for all,” said Wong.

“This is the hardest decision I have to make in my life and it is with the greatest humility that I accept the Selangor state’s offer.”

Wong had tendered her resignation as exco member and assemblyman in February, following the release of revealing pictures of her to the media by unknown persons.

Earlier Thursday, Selangor Mentri Besar Tan Sri Khalid Ibrahim told a press conference that the state did not accept Wong’s resignation and wanted her to remain in both her positions.

Khalid was accompanied by almost all his exco members, including senior exco member Teresa Kok and state PAS commissioner Datuk Dr Hassan Ali, when he made the announcement.

He added that Selangor Sultan Sharafuddin Idris Shah had been briefed about the decision to retain Wong.

Khalid thanked the Sultan for his stand in not interfering in political decisions and entrusting the state government to make a fair and just decision.

“The state government believes this is an appropriate and fair decision after taking into consideration views from all quarters, public interest and the fact that police investigations have to date failed to reach a conclusion,” he said, adding that Wong had to return to work today as her leave had ended yesterday.

Wong was granted long leave while the police conducted investigations and the exco debated on her status as exco member and assemblyman.

Khalid stressed that morality was of utmost importance to the state’s Pakatan Rakyat government.

“This principle is strictly adhered to. Should there be any conclusive evidence of wrongdoing, the state government will not hesitate to initiate the necessary action,” he added.

However, said Khalid, the state government was also equally concerned about protecting the right to privacy and would do its utmost to protect that right.

He reiterated that Wong was a victim and that even though it was an issue of morality, everyone was innocent until proven guilty.

In her statement, Wong said the past two months had been traumatic for her.

“I have been stripped bare publicly, both figuratively and literally, by force and against my will.

“My personal life has been violated and assaulted by none other than criminals. Even up to this evening, I continued to receive threats from unknown persons.”

Wong said what had transpired was not a scandal but a criminal act which also translated into criminal intimidation and a form of political violence.

“If I chose to retreat into silence, it would in turn indirectly affect women, especially women politicians,” she added.

She said she was humbled by the encouragement and support shown by the media, her family and friends, non-governmental organisations, those who signed petitions asking her to remain in office and her constituents who had stood firmly behind her.

Related stories:

Wong to stay on as assemblyman and exco member
Wong to give up her exco post
MB: Anwar won’t meddle in decision over Bukit Lanjan rep
Cops get arrest warrant for Hilmi
Probe still on, so Eli Wong’s leave extended till April 15
Selangor Ruler upset and worried over invasion of privacy
It’s gutter politics, says Mahathir
Nude pix scandal hits PKR rep

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