IPOH: Embattled Perak executive council member Paul Yong Choo Kiong has finally decided to go on leave from his official duties.
Yong said he wished to solely focus on his rape trial to clear his name and establish his innocence.
“After considering the position carefully, I have decided to take leave from my official duties as a state exco member.
“I also feel that I should put the interests of the state ahead of my personal interests as I have always done in my career as a politician and I will communicate my decision to the mentri besar, ” he said in a statement yesterday.
Yong was charged with raping his former Indonesian maid. He claimed trial at a Sessions Court here on Friday.
Prior to Friday’s court proceedings, Perak Mentri Besar Datuk Seri Ahmad Faizal Azumu had advised him to go on leave.
Yong said his lawyers would request the court for the earliest possible trial dates to be fixed.
“This is so I can be vindicated as soon as possible.
“I maintain that this is an ugly political conspiracy against me and the severity of these allegations has caused massive distress to me, my family and colleagues.
“In the meantime, I shall continue to serve my constituents as the Tronoh assemblyman, ” he said.
His lawyer Leong Cheok Keng, who is Malim Nawar assemblyman, praised him for the voluntary decision.
“He is the first politician in this country to have done so, despite not having been found guilty by the court of law. He has set a precedent and a high standard for all politicians, ” he said.
Leong said that Yong instructed the legal team to expedite the trial date and that this demonstrated his “confidence of establishing his innocence in court”.
When contacted, Perak Amanah deputy chairman Datuk Seri Mohammad Nizar Jamaluddin said Yong made a rational decision.
“He is still an assemblyman and can still serve his constituency.
“It’s just something short term, ” he added.
Nizar, who is also a state exco member, said the administration of the state would not be affected.
Perak PKR chairman Farhash Wafa Salvador Rizal Mubarak said there must be respect for the due process of law.
“Every civil servant must be free from any wrongdoing and that includes public perception, ” he said.