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Thursday, February 26, 2009

> Sultan says he is above politics

Selangor Sultan Sharafuddin Idris Shah has refused to involve himself in the controversy involving Bukit Lanjan assemblyperson Elizabeth Wong, whose nude photographs have been circulated in public.

In a press statement issued by the sultan’s private secretary Mohamad Munir Bani, the palace expressed sadness over the controversy which has roiled the state.

However, Sultan Sharafuddin said that he could not offer any guidance or advice over the issue because the case is still under police investigation.

"It is His Royal Highness' stance as the Sultan of Selangor to be above politics," said Mohamad Munir.

The Sultan added that he believes the decision to be made by Menteri Besar Abdul Khalid Ibrahim on the matter will be “fair and with wisdom” and will take into consideration the interests of the rakyat and the state.

"His Royal Highness is upset and worried as of late the intrusion into someone's privacy and private rights is being used to destroy (the individual's) dignity and reputation," said Mohamad Munir.

"It is a sad thing as one's life and private rights are being made public and subject to public scrutiny by publicising (it) in the mass media."

Royal sympathy for Wong

The sultan expressed sympathy for Wong and hoped that she will "remain calm and be patient in continuing with her life henceforth".

Wong, 37, was thrust into the spotlight following the circulation of her nude photographs, which is now being investigated by the police.

The Selangor exco, who has repeatedly maintained that she is a victim, has since offered to resign from her exco post as well as her state assembly seat.

She left the country last Thursday for a break, saying she could no longer stand the immense stress brought on by the controversy.

Khalid had last week said he would seek the views of the sultan on how to handle the matter.

The menteri besar had an audience with Sultan Sharafuddin today and briefed him on the issue.

No decision until police finish probe

In a press conference this afternoon, Khalid said that the state government would only be making a decision on Wong's fate of the police have completed investigations into the matter.

"After a discussion among all the exco relating to this matter at the cabinet meeting today, the state government has decided to extend Wong's leave while waiting for the police investigation."

Khalid also expressed appreciation for PAS president Abdul Hadi Awang's show of support over allegations that he was involved in abuse of power.

The Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) has said it found "good and strong" evidence against Khalid and would recommend that he face prosecution.

Khalid is accused of spending taxpayers' money to buy 46 cows that were slaughtered and distributed in his constituency during the Hari Raya Korban festival last December.

He was also reportedly accused of using funds belonging to state-owned firms to buy a Lexus SUV worth nearly RM1 million, and maintaining it at government expense.

Khalid has denied all the charges

According to the menteri besar, Sultan Sharafuddin was informed about the two issues at their meeting in Shah Alam's Istana Mestika.

"The sultan has stated his stand of not against the use of personal car as an official vehicle so long as all legal procedures are followed," said Khalid.

"With regards to cattle being sacrificed for meat for the poor, the sultan has no objection to such efforts and in fact, encourages such welfare work to be continued and expanded in all areas in Kuala Lumpur, including Bandar Tun Razak." - Malaysiakini.