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UPDATE: Embattled Malaysian Assemblymember Eli Wong goes back to work (April 16, 2009)

Before she became a political leader, Eli Wong was a tireless solidarity campaigner for human rights, including in Timor-Leste. She was a key organizer of the second Asia-Pacific Conference for East Timor in Malaysia in 1996 (which was broken up by Mahatir's goons, with many people arrested, including Eli), She attended a subsequent APCET meeting in Bangkok.




Consulate demonstration to be held for Assemblywoman & human rights activist Elizabeth Wong

When: Friday, February 20th 11am

Where: Malaysian Consulate 313 East 43 St. btw 2nd Ave. and Tudor City Pl.

New York – Supporters will rally at the Malaysian Consulate in New York City this Friday to demonstrate support of Elizabeth Wong, State Executive Councilor and Bukit Lanjan Assemblywoman from Selangor, Malaysia, amplifying the right of women in politics to privacy.

This week Assemblywoman Wong suffered from a politically motivated strategy to discredit her in the Malaysian press, through the distribution of supposedly "undignified" photos of Wong. The photos were taken without her knowledge or permission in the privacy of her home. The circulation of these photos is a gross invasion of a woman politician’s right to privacy.

“Wong’s political record is one of integrity, she has committed no crime, and shouldn’t be forced to resign, the attack on her personal life illustrates the double standard political women face, with more attention paid to superficial and irrelevant matters than to their platform and political record,” said friend and colleague in human rights advocacy, Jessica Rucell.

In a statement released to the press, Feb. 17 Wong said, “I have done nothing wrong. I am not ashamed of my sexuality as a woman and as a single person. I have broken no law. I stand by the fundamental principle in a democracy that everyone has a right to privacy.” As a result of the media barrage this week, Assemblywoman Wong offered her full resignation to her party, the People's Justice Party (PKR) and the Selangor State Government, which are considering her resignation.

"Elizabeth Wong is an exemplary, courageous woman and this smear against her should not be allowed to sully her work and reputation,” said Michael Renner, a researcher who has known Wong through her work on the Aceh conflict in Indonesia.

NYC demo in support of Eli Wong at the Malaysian Consulate, Feb.20. Photo ETAN.

The rally is being organized to give support to a brave activist and politician whose privacy and dignity have been violated. Calling for the PKR and the Selangor State Government to reject Wong’s resignation as a clear statement of support for the protection of women's rights to privacy, and in rejection of underhanded political tactics. The government and the party should support Wong to continue as Assemblywoman & Selangor Tourism, Consumer & Environment Committee Chairman.

In her first year as Assemblywoman, Wong has been an outspoken government advocate for responsible development, environmental rights, poverty alleviation, minority rights, and indigenous peoples’ rights. She has fought for a minimum wage for Malaysian workers and greater rights for women. She is also currently the Information Chief of the PKR Women's wing.

Wong has worked tirelessly as a human rights advocate, before running for State Assembly in 2008, she was the Secretary-General of the National Human Rights Society (Hakam). She was involved in the creation of the Asean Inter-Parliamentary Myanmar Caucus for Democracy. And also worked for peace in Aceh, East Timor and Mindanao. The rally is sponsored by Burma Point; Code Pink Women for Peace; East Timor and Indonesia Action Network; Transnational Institute for Grassroots Research and Action–NY


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