KUALA LUMPUR, 24 Feb 2009: Parti Keadilan Rakyat (PKR)’s continued support for Selangor state assemblyperson Elizabeth Wong will depend on the content of any new photographs which may surface.
“It depends on what the pictures are,” PKR deputy president Dr Syed Husin Ali told The Nut Graph last night, when asked whether the party would continue to back Wong if more private photos of the assemblyperson surfaced.
However, Syed Husin added, “I don’t think there are any more.”
Wong, a first time elected representative, has been the target of a smear campaign in which intimate photos of herself, purportedly taken by an ex-boyfriend, have been circulated on the internet and through MMS without her consent.
Rumours have been rife that more material, including an intimate video, would also be circulated.
“I have been told there will be a fresh assault, with more photographs and videos released and circulated in order to completely degrade and bury me,” Wong said in a 19 Feb press statement.
Wong has tendered her resignation as both assemblyperson and state exco, but was asked by PKR advisor Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim to go on leave instead.
Selangor Menteri Besar Tan Sri Khalid Ibrahim has also openly supported Wong, saying that she was an exemplary exco and a victim of a smear campaign.
However, Khalid is scheduled to meet with Sultan Sharafuddin Idris Shah Alhaj tomorrow to brief the Selangor ruler and seek his advice over the matter.
Police are also looking to record a statement from Wong’s ex-boyfriend, Helmi Malik, to assist in investigations.
Helmi, who is believed to be out of the country, is a PKR member and the former aide of Member of Parliament (MP) Hee Loy Sian.
Members are vetted
When asked to comment on the fact that both Helmi and Mohd Saiful Bukhari Azlan, who accused Anwar of sodomy last year, were PKR members, Syed Husin said the party was “always in the process of vetting its members”.
“But there are those who manage to slip through,” he said.
PKR believed Saiful was a Barisan Nasional (BN) plant, citing a photo of the young aide with a staff member of Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak as proof of a political conspiracy to bring Anwar down.
Pakatan Rakyat has also accused the BN of the smear campaign against Wong even though there is no evidence to prove their allegations.
However, Syed Husin was careful not to paint Helmi in the same light as Saiful Bukhari.
“People always assume that he was the one who distributed the photos, but we don’t know for sure,” Syed Husin said, adding that investigations were still ongoing.
Earlier, Syed Husin delivered a speech at a forum at the Selangor Chinese Assembly Hall to protest the teaching of science and maths in English (known by the Malay acronym, PPSMI).
He replaced Anwar as PKR representative on a panel that included, among others, PAS president Datuk Seri Hadi Awang and Gerakan Mansuhkan PPSMI (GMP) chairperson Datuk Hassan Ahmad.
Syed Husin (left) with other members of the panel at the forum
Syed Husin said the idea of improving students’ command of English by forcing them to learn technical subjects in the language was ridiculous.
“Our party strongly supports GMP,” Syed Husin said, expressing hope that the movement’s planned 7 March “mammoth gathering” in front of the Palace would be received well by citizens.
“I am a product of English education. I want to see children excel at English, but this cannot be done at the expense of other languages,” Syed Husin said, adding that the support of the Chinese and Indian Malaysian communities would be vital in making the movement a success.
Another panellist, poet Che Shamsuddin Othman, said if the policy to teach Maths and Science in English continued, he feared that the Malays would lose their language and religion.