How low can ‘they’ go?

FEB 16 – It is nothing but despicable and gutter politics to use photographs of a woman, taken when she is at her most vulnerable, to tarnish her and attack the party she represents.

Selangor exco member Elizabeth Wong, single, has the misfortune of associating with a former boyfriend who probably took the photographs that are now being used by her political enemies to bring her down and consequently tar the Pakatan Rakyat as immoral.

How and when the photographs were taken by a person she had trusted and how the images were passed on, more likely sold, to her political enemies remains unknown.

Wong, who had a long-term relationship with a man that had ended recently, has lodged a police report at the Damansara police station after agonising over the matter with friends, consulting party colleagues and sympathetic lawyers who were all aghast at the ugly turn of events.

“This is dirty blackmail,” Wong told her colleagues who argued with newspapers editors over the weekend on the “immorality” of publishing the photographs.

Wong put up a brave face but said she was willing to take “any action necessary” to protect the PKR and the Pakatan Rakyat.

It is believed that the photographs were taken without her consent, most likely by a former boyfriend, while she was sleeping.

“It is blackmail, a gross invasion of my privacy and despicable to say the least,” Wong told The Malaysian Insider on Saturday. “I hope the police get the culprit who did this to me.”

Unidentified people have been sending the photographs to a number of newspapers, which carried the news but did not publish the photographs.

It is hoped that political blogs and news websites also desist from publishing the photographs simply because doing so is a despicable act, a serious violation of a person and an unwarranted assault on Wong.

But in a politically divided nation like ours where the demand for blood is overpowering, it might be too much to ask anyone to desist.

Already Selangor Opposition Leader Datuk Seri Mohd Khir Toyo is demanding the resignation of Wong, fondly called Eli by her friends.

“She is no longer fit to be a member of the government,” he said citing the case of former Health Minister Datuk Seri Chua Soi Lek who quit all posts last year after admitting to infidelity that was secretly caught by a hidden camera set up by his political enemies in the MCA.

“This is about morality, whether the pictures were taken with or without consent is another matter, I cannot accept a lawmaker whose morality is questionable,” Khir told the Malaysian Insider today.

The pressure for her to quit would likely increase in the weeks ahead especially after PKR’s Kedah exco-member V. Arumugam resigned last week after being dogged by alleged bigamy.

But Arumugam and Wong are worlds apart not just in their intellectual makeup but also in the alleged “crimes” they have committed.

Wong is clearly a victim of unscrupulous individuals while whatever problems Arumugan had faced were of his own making.

Wong is also something of a radical activist learned in the lores of left wing activism who studied in Sydney University. She jumped into political activism like a duck takes to water and played prominent roles in the reformasi movement, human rights groups and in defending minorities.

She worked with Suaram, Hakam and other rights organisation before winning the Bukit Lanjan state seat on March 8, 2008 with a huge 5,000 vote majority and was promptly made an exco-member in charge of tourism and environment.

Intellectually Wong is probably a Marxist but one who also believes in the Hegelian concept that individuals, by their action, can also change history.

She is one of those unique Jane Fonda-type political activists fighting on many fronts at the same time. She was catapulted from the streets to the highest reaches of the Selangor state government where she had hoped to put her activism to good use by changing the way the government is managed.

While publicly she remains a loyal member of the PR coalition government in Selangor, privately she grumbled that many of the election promises i.e declaring assets, minimum wages and egalitarian principles of governance, were being compromised by political horse-trading.

As an activist, she was given to the “hard living, hard working” lifestyle ,spending most of her time huddled in heated discussions in the warongs like others in the Reformasi movement.

All that changed after Pakatan won big on March 8 and she became part of a ruling government.

“She took to the new job admirably ... she was committed and passionate but her past has caught up with her,” said a colleague.

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