SHAH ALAM: The Selangor state government has extended troubled Bukit Lanjan assemblyman and executive council (exco) member Elizabeth Wong’s leave to April 15.
Mentri Besar Tan Sri Khalid Ibrahim said the decision was made Wednesday at the weekly exco meeting.
According to Khalid, the exco decided to extend her leave given that police investigations into the distribution of revealing pictures of her were still underway.
He said the decision was also a result of the discussion between Wong and Khalid last Saturday.
Khalid told a press conference after chairing the weekly exco meeting that Wong’s leave will not be extended after April 15 and a concrete decision would be made with regard to her status.
Wong went on leave on Feb 15 after some revealing pictures of her were sent to selected media outlets.
Following this, she tendered her resignation as exco member and assemblyman, saying that it was in the best interest of her party PKR and the state’s Pakatan Rakyat ruling coalition.
When asked what the state government’s options were, Khalid said: “The options are whether to accept or not to accept her request to resign; the other option is for her not to be an exco but to continue as an assemblyman.”
To a question if her leave had been extended because of the upcoming by-elections in Batang Ai, Bukit Selambau and Bukit Gantang, Khalid said the only reason for the extension was the on-going police investigation.
“The police are very active in their investigation and yesterday they tried to locate the people allegedly involved in the case,” he added.
Khalid also said the state government did not want to accept Wong’s resignation but had to give due consideration to the issues that she will face in public.
He said in his discussion with Wong last week, it was agreed that the state government’s decision made must ultimately take into account the public’s position on the matter.
“That’s why the exco and I decided to extend her leave,” he added.
He said Wong, who had undergone minor back surgery, was currently in Selangor.
Khalid also added that Wong had requested through him, that the media give her “some space.”
The mentri besar also refused to say anything about Elizabeth’s former boyfriend Hilmi Malek. Police said they had obtained a warrant for his arrest earlier Wednesday.
Khalid also said other exco members will temporarily take over Wong’s tourism, consumer affairs and environment portfolio.
Khalid and senior exco member Teresa Kok will take over the tourism portfolio; Ean Yong Hian Wah will oversee the consumer affairs portfolio whilst Rodziah Ismail and Dr Xavier Jayakumar will assume the environment portfolio.
Rodziah has also been appointed by the state government to stand in for Elizabeth in carrying out the official duties of Bukit Lanjan assemblyman.