PETALING JAYA: The Centre for A Better Tomorrow (Cenbet) has called on Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad and other senior government leaders to intervene and get Perak executive council member Paul Yong Choo Kiong (pic) to continue his leave of absence as his rape trial is still ongoing.
Cenbet vice-president Datuk Simon Lim Seng Chai said they were shocked to learn that Yong had resumed duties as Perak state executive councillor.
“In fact, the trial has not even commenced,” he said in a statement on Saturday (Nov 16).
On Aug 25, Yong took leave of absence from official duties over allegations that he raped his maid.
Yong pleaded not guilty to the charge of raping the maid at a house in Meru Desa Park between 8.15pm and 9.15pm on July 7.
Following the charge, Perak Mentri Besar Datuk Seri Ahmad Faizal Azumu advised Yong to go on leave pending the conclusion of the trial.
However, Lim said he was shocked that Yong had resumed his duties with Ahmad’s blessing.
“His recent change of heart clearly goes against popular public sentiment that a public office bearer must not only be above board, but must be seen to be so, and that taking leave is a moral necessity,” he said.
Lim said Dr Mahathir and senior government leaders had to intervene to get Yong to resume his leave, adding that it was line with “good governance championed by the new administration”.
“On the assertion by Yong’s lawyer that there are no legal grounds against the executive councillor returning to work, we’d like to remind him that this is not about legality but a matter of moral duty and good governance – the latter a principle which we promote.
“We’d like to reiterate that in any mature democracy, public office bearers would go on leave for a far lesser charge.
“Taking leave is not an admission of guilt, but to allow for transparent due process to take place. If and when acquitted, YB Paul Yong can return to his office, with his head held higher than before,” he said.
Yong’s rape trial has yet to start because on Wednesday (Nov 13) an application was filed for the case to be heard in the High Court instead of the Sessions Court.