Thursday, 09 Jul 2020 05:45 AM MYT
BY ZURAIRI AR AND EMMANUEL SANTA MARIA CHIN
KUALA LUMPUR, July 9 — Three former members of Islamic Renaissance Front (IRF) spoke about the sexual harassment they allegedly faced from one of the think tank’s directors, following a call by women’s rights groups for an independent investigation into these allegations.
Speaking separately to Malay Mail, the trio related how the perpetrator touched them inappropriately on several occasions.
This included stroking their arms, legs, and hugging them around their waists, and one instance of sexual assault involving attempted kissing and groping.
In the case which resulted in a police report, the accuser said the alleged perpetrator acted inappropriately towards him during a one-on-one meeting unrelated to IRF in November 2019 when he was then a new recruit.
In a phone interview with Malay Mail, he said the meeting was related to his becoming a research assistant while he was waiting for his housemanship.
He pointed out that he was just a fresh medical graduate then while the alleged perpetrator was already in a senior position.
“If I cannot get justice for my case, I can prevent the person from going further,” he added.
Malay Mail sighted a copy of the police report dated February 2020 via the accuser’s legal team.
He explained that fear and trauma were the reasons behind the delay in lodging a report.
Yesterday, news portal Malaysiakini similarly quoted the accuser and confirmed the report with a police source who did not want to be named.
“The case is under investigation. We will forward our findings to the deputy public prosecutor for further instruction,” the police source told Malaysiakini.
According to the accuser, the investigating officer is planning to take statements from witnesses as early as today, and from the alleged perpetrator some time this week.
One of the men who spoke to Malay Mail was employed as a personal aide to the accused director more than five years ago.
He too made similar claims of alleged harassment, which included the perpetrator touching him between his thighs and stroking his leg while being driven in car.
“Being young and naïve then, I thought the person was sincere about seeing me as a son. But when it happened many times, I decided to quit my job,” he told Malay Mail.
The second man who spoke up said he wanted to lodge a police report about the alleged sexual harassment, but claimed he was dissuaded from doing so by the police officer who pointed out the difficulty of proving such an accusation.
Another man who had been involved with IRF as an activist since 2011 said incidents of “excessive touching and groping” happened at IRF’s workshops, retreats and other programmes.