Taking leave is honourable, governance watchdog tells Perak exco charged with rape

Perak state executive councillor Paul Yong was charged yesterday with raping his 23-year-old former maid on July 7 at a house in Meru, Ipoh and has pled not guilty. — Picture by Farhan Najib
Perak state executive councillor Paul Yong was charged yesterday with raping his 23-year-old former maid on July 7 at a house in Meru, Ipoh and has pled not guilty. — Picture by Farhan Najib

KUALA LUMPUR, Aug 24 — Perak state executive councillor Paul Yong should take leave from official duties pending the outcome of his rape trial to show his commitment towards good governance, the Centre for A Better Tomorrow (Cenbet) said today.

The policy and governance group said a voluntary absence from work does not equal an admission of guilt, after the DAP politician was charged with raping an Indonesian woman formerly in his employ.

“If Yong is committed to the ideals of good governance that his party and coalition have pledged to uphold, he should take leave of absence immediately. There is no need to wait until the conclusion of his trial,” Cenbet vice-president Datuk Simon Lim Seng Chai said in a statement.

He added that if cleared of guilt, the Tronoh assemblyman can then return to his old post his head held high for having proven his innocence in a court of law and with his dignity intact.

“Taking leave is not an admission of guilt, but to defend the sanctity of the state’s administration. It is an honourable thing to do,” he added.

Yong, 49, was charged yesterday with raping his 23-year-old former maid on July 7 at a house in Meru, Ipoh and has pled not guilty.

He has refused to go on leave despite an order from Perak Mentri Besar Datuk Seri Ahmad Faizal Azumu, insisting he does not need to as he has done nothing wrong.

“We are gobsmacked that Yong has refused to take leave, despite being advised to do so by the Perak Mentri Besar. The criminal charge against Yong is a grave one, and he comes from a party that has been at the forefront in promoting good governance.

“It is standard practice for public office bearers in mature democracies around the world to take leave or resign after being implicated for wrongdoings that are even far lighter than rape,” Lim said.

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