23 June 2017
UM comes under fire for ‘mishandling’ sexual assault cases
Malaysian Academic Movement (Gerak) today criticised the way Universiti Malaya (UM) allegedly handled sexual assault cases involving foreign exchange students.
Gerak said sexual assault cases must not be covered up just to maintain the “good name” of any university.
“All complaints must be thoroughly investigated and action must be taken as soon as possible.
“If the said officers are found to have erred in their actions, the university (should) be responsible enough to offer an apology to the alleged sexual assault victims who were twice victimised – first, by the perpetrator and, second, by the very institution that is supposed to protect them,” its chairperson Zaharom Nain said in a statement.
The university has declined to expound on the cases as investigations are underway.
While acknowledging the importance of due process, Gerak said it was no excuse for discouraging victims from lodging police reports.
“(Due process) need not be at the expense of denying the rights of a complainant to lodge a police report.
“A sexual attack is traumatic for any victim as it violates their bodily integrity.
“The victim is made even more vulnerable by the institution when it fails to protect him/her or provide proper redress,” the statement read.
22 June 2017
‘UM sexual harassment policy not followed’
The Universiti Malaya Academic Staff Association (PKAUM) has expressed concern that the university’s procedures for dealing with sexual harassment cases have not been strictly adhered to.
PKAUM said this in response to reports that Universiti Malaya (UM) had asked two international students, who were allegedly sexually assaulted, to retract or refrain from lodging a police report.
“There are detailed guidelines, from lodging a complaint to the investigation process, and even a set timeline of three months for a case to be concluded.
“These two recent cases show weaknesses in the system, as the committee in charge of handling and investigating such cases has been bypassed,” it said in a statement today.
It added that UM was amongst the first universities in the country to have a detailed policy on dealing with sexual harassment.
However, it said the two recent cases highlighted the lack of awareness about this policy and the process of lodging a complaint.
21 June 2017
Student: UM urged me to withdraw sexual assault complaint
One of the two foreign students allegedly sexually assaulted while on exchange at Universiti Malaya (UM) has criticised how the university handled the cases after reports were made, saying the top local university is “not really ready to accept all international students” as it failed to protect them.
A Japanese student, who wanted to be known only as Yo M, recently released a statement on Facebook detailing his sexual assault by another foreign student.
Yo claimed he was assaulted on April 30 at 8 pm in his Tun Ahmad Residential College dormitory room by another foreign student, who had forcefully kissed him and forced Yo to touch his penis. His attacker ran away after he threatened to call the police.
When Yo tried to report the incident to the university’s International Student Centre (ISC) three days later, the officers-in-charge allegedly laughed at him.
“ISC asked me to accompany them to withdraw my police report, (ISC said this was) so that the university could have a smoother investigation,” he said in the statement.
In a video call with Malaysiakini, Yo confirmed he had taken ISC Project Officer Gamal Ali Salleh Al-Mwald’s advice and retracted his police report at Pantai police station on May 16, two weeks after he had made it.
“I agreed to do it because I thought the police could not do anything, as I could not provide evidence,” he said.
Pantai police station declined to confirm this on privacy grounds.
When contacted, Gamal denied Yo’s allegations.
“I did not ask him to withdraw the police report,” he said.
“On May 12, another guy from Taiwan was attacked by the same (perpetrator) in a really similar situation. I heard about this incident from the victim,” he said in the statement.
Both victims were told to call their respective embassies when they brought the matter up with ISC.
The Taiwanese student was also told by ISC to not report the incident to police, he added.
“Mrs Salmi (Masita Shaari), the director of ISC, mentioned that the college’s ‘face’ or reputation was more important than students’ safety,” Yo said in the statement.
Malaysiakini understands that a hearing was held by the UM disciplinary board for Yo and the suspect was suspended for one week for his actions.
A hearing for the Taiwanese student, scheduled for yesterday, had to be postponed to a yet-to-be-confirmed date in July as both the victim and suspect parties were unavailable.
Foreign student at public varsity alleges sexual assault
June 21, 2017
PETALING JAYA: Allegations of sexual assault involving foreign students at a local public university have emerged, with the added accusation that an official at the university asked for a student to withdraw a police report that had been lodged.
The issue came to light when a Japanese student at Universiti Malaya (UM) took to Facebook to post a statement detailing the sexual assault which he claimed he suffered at the hands of another foreign student, Malaysiakini reported.
The student, who only revealed his identity as Yo M, said the alleged assault occurred on April 30, at 8pm, at the Tun Ahmad Residential College dormitory in UM.
Meanwhile, UM’s international and corporate relations office released a statement saying it “takes matters of this nature seriously and all complaints will be processed thoroughly”.
“We would like to confirm that a complaint has been received and given due process.
“As the investigation process has not completed, it would be inappropriate for us to comment or pre-empt on the case.
“The university also would like to ask for the public’s patience on this as each case requires proper investigation and attention,” the statement said.