Published: Monday February 16, 2009 MYT 11:59:00 AM
Updated: Monday February 16, 2009 MYT 8:36:37 PM
Nude pix scandal hits PKR rep (Update 7)
By LEE YUK PENG, WANI MUTHIAH, LOH FOON FOONG and SIM LEOI LEOI
PETALING JAYA: Outspoken Bukit Lanjan assemblyman Elizabeth Wong lodged a police report at the Damansara police station here Sunday night over nude pictures and videos of her that have been circulating via MMS.
In a statement released Monday afternoon, Wong said that the distribution and publication of these photos/ video was a malicious attack.
“This constitutes a gross outrage on my modesty, a gross invasion of my privacy, and in particular the sanctity of my personal life,” she said (see statement in full below).
“I have received a lot of support from my supporters, friends, colleagues and members of my constituency. I wish to thank them for their concern, support and encouragement.
“My family members are standing behind me. I would like to appeal to the media to give me and my family members some breathing space in this trying time so that I can weather this huge challenge,” she added.
OCPD Asst Comm Arjunaidi Mohamed confirmed a report was lodged and that police were investigating.
He appealed anyone who has received or seen the nude pictures of Wong to come forward and cooperate with the police.
"We don't have the pictures and we have not seen them, either," he said.
The pictures are believed to have been taken using a handphone, possibly before the general election last March.
Police sources said that the Commercial Crimes Division has been put in charge of the investigation.
Meanwhile, Bernama reported that Wanita MCA crossed the political divide on Monday to defend Wong.
MCA Wanita chief Datin Chew Mei Fun condemned the person or persons responsible for circulating nude pictures of Wong.
"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 for political use," she said in a statement.
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.
"We would like to advise all women to be cautious. We also urge the government to strictly enforce implementation of the Act which provides for punitive measures so that it becomes a real deterrent against such detestable behaviour," she added
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.
She was later appointed a member of the Selangor state executive council, in charge of Tourism, Consumer Affairs and the Environment. She is also the information chief of the Women’s wing of PKR and of her division Petaling Jaya Utara.
As at press time, she had not commented on the issue on her blog.
Selangor Mentri Besar Tan Sri Khalid Ibrahim urged the police to conduct a proper investigation into the matter.
He told reporters at the Parliament lobby in Kuala Lumpur that the Selangor state executive council would discuss the matter during its meeting on Wednesday.
“Someone is trying to frame her," said Khalid, adding that he was waiting for the police report before commenting further.
“The party will discuss the matter with regard to her status. It is unfair to make any decision at this moment without any information," he said.
PKR president Datuk Seri Dr Wan Azizah Wan Ismail said she would look into the matter and said she felt sad that it happened.
“There is a pattern of PKR assemblymen being attacked,” she said, alleging that the ruling coalition Barisan nasional has had its share of scandals too.
Selangor exco member and Seputeh MP Teresa Kok said she had nightmares after learning about the incident.
“This is like invading a person’s privacy and the incident took place at her home.
“The whole incident could be politically motivated,” said Kok, adding that there must be someone purposely circulating the photos.
“She did not do anything that is against the people’s wishes. She is a victim and I support her," said Kok.
Azmin Ali (PKR-Gombak) said the party would wait for Wong to explain the situation to the Selangor mentri besar.
“We don’t want to know if these are old or new nude pictures. She must explain to us and if she is really guilty of having posed or was involved in the taking of these pictures, we will not hesitate to take action.
“But we don’t want to make any speculation as yet,” he said, adding that he had earlier discussed the matter with both Khalid and Pakatan Rakyat de facto leader Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim.
“And they both agreed that we should not compromise on any disciplinary action. We will leave it to the mentri besar to decide if she is guilty or not as he is the head of the state,” he said.
The nude pictures was all the talk around Parliament Monday morning. Home Minister Datuk Seri Syed Hamid Albar assured the public that the police would conduct a thorough investigation.
He said at present, it was still too early to say who was responsible for taking or circulating the pictures.
“She has lodged a report with the police, let them investigate,” he told reporters after attending the opening of the new Parliament meeting here.
Puteri Umno chief Datuk Noraini Ahmad said that she has not seen the video, but added that privacy should be respected, whether it is of a private individual or a public representative.
“People should not do such things,” she said, but added that those in the public sphere should be judicious in their conduct because their private lives are no longer that -- private.
Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Datuk Seri Mohamed Nazri Abdul Aziz said he sympathised with the Selangor exco member.
“This should not happen because she is a wakil rakyat (people’s representative) and she is doing her job as one; to get her down through such method is not good.
"I hope she can find the strength in herself to endure this and ignore it," he said.
Health Minister Datuk Liow Tiong Lai said that the distribution of such “pornography” was not in our culture.
“We don’t know what the political reason is. I can’t make any further comment because I don’t know the full details.
“This is not ethical and is an invasion of privacy,” he added.
“However, if the picture is a revelation of her lifestyle, all I can say is that it is not right for a leader to adopt such a lifestyle without boundaries,” he said.
Expected lack of sympathy
In Klang, Selangor opposition chief Datuk Seri Dr Mohd Khir Toyo said that Malaysians were not ready to accept leaders afflicted with scandals and given this, Wong should relinquish all her positions.
“This is a moral issue and Malaysians cannot accept leaders with moral issues, so she must vacate her state assembly seat.
“Let the people decide and if they still want her they can vote her in again or vote for someone else if they don’t want her to represent them anymore," said Dr Mohd Khir, who last week was detained and questioned by police for taking part in an illegal assembly.
It is rumoured that the pictures may have been taken and circulated by an ex-boyfriend.
ELIZABETH WONG'S STATEMENT IN FULL
I was informed on Friday, Feb 13, 2009 by journalists from The Malay Mail that they have in their possession intimate photos of myself and that the newspaper will be publishing a story about these photographs.
I was told that some people are trying to distribute photos/ videos showing me asleep in partial nudity and also in intimate positions.
The distribution and publication of these photos/ video is a malicious attack on my personality. This constitutes a gross outrage on my modesty, a gross invasion of my privacy, and in particular the sanctity of my personal life. It is being done by unscrupulous persons to embarrass and discredit me?
I am a victim in this incident.
I have yesterday lodged a police report in relation to this matter and I will fully cooperate with the police in their investigation. I will therefore not speculate publicly about those responsible for this gross invasion of my privacy.
I have received a lot of support from my supporters, friends, colleagues and members of my constituency. I wish to thank them for their concern, support and encouragement.
My family members are standing behind me. I would like to appeal to the media to give me and my family members some breathing space in this trying time so that I can weather this huge challenge.
I will in the meantime continue to carry out my task of serving the people of Selangor faithfully.
Bukit Lanjan assemblyperson
Exco for Tourism, Environment and Consumer Affairs