June 14, 2021

KEADILAN Stands In Solidarity With Athletes Who Have Experienced Sexual Harrasmenet

Angkatan Muda Keadilan (AMK) Malaysia was appalled to learn of the ongoing prevalence of sexual harassment in the Malaysian sports industry through the interview of former national swimmer, Ms. Cindy Ong, with Malaysiakini on the 24th of May 2021.

To delve further into this concern, AMK Malaysia organised a legal forum on Facebook Live regarding the same on the 13th of June 2021. The said forum is to be the 1st in a series of such forums with the overarching theme “Protecting Rights, Justice For All”.

Our panellists were Pn. Fadhlina Siddiq (Chairperson of PKR Women’s Wing Legal Bureau), Mr. Richard Wee (Managing Partner of Richard Wee Chambers and appointed panel of the Ministry of Youth & Sports)and Ms. Cindy Ong herself.

The following is brief summary of the talking points of each panellist:-

Fadhlina: Delivered a presentation laying the groundwork as to the fundamentals of the offence of sexual harassment, including definitions, examples of offending acts, the physiological & psychological effects on athletes who experience harassment, grooming by perpetrators & the challenges we face in tackling the issue. In her closing remarks, she called on all of society to band together in eliminating sexual harassment, by being “active bystanders” who condemn harassment when they see it.

“Whether it is a coach or a sports committee, they must be trained to handle the complaints appropriately.

We often hear that these respondents show a lack of empathy towards the victims. It makes victims afraid to come forward,” said Fadhlina while addressing the lack of experts qualified to handle sexual harassment cases in the sports community.

Cindy: Gave a poignant account of her experience being groomed and molested by a coach at the tender age of 13. Disclosed that the same coach attempted to sexually assault her later on in life. Cindy also called out the deplorable comments made on social media in response to her earlier interviews, which included obscene jokes & victim-blaming.

In her parting thoughts, she called for a top-down approach in tackling this issue, as well as more education on the subject in schools to protect our youth. She also urged the mainstream media to take up this cause & carry it nationwide, so that we can achieve nationwide reach.

“Right now, I really wish for the sexual harassment bill to be tabled. I want to make myself very clear that it has to be bipartisan. I don’t want to be stuck in a political battle between a few people. I really hope all Malaysians and politicians can come together, shake hands, and get this done,” she said.

Richard: Addressed the existing laws & regulations to combat sexual harassment. Spoke on his work with enforcement agencies in Malaysian sport, including crafting “safer sport” initiatives in collaboration with Institut Sukan Negara (ISN). He also called for deterrent measures to be implemented. He concluded by urging Malaysians to “treat others as they would want their loved ones to be treated” in standing against sexual harassment.

“There must be some kind of filter to ensure those involved in the sports industry are there because they are interested in sports and not to grope athletes.

“If we are to really address this topic, we must find a way to put deterrent measures in place, which is far more effective than having a system where we only do something about it after we discover that there is harassment involved,” he said.

All in all, the forum was highly productive, in that we have managed to “get the ball rolling” in our efforts to eradicate sexual harassment. AMK Malaysia stands ready to provide support and legal advice to any victim, past or present, who has faced sexual harassment and wishes to come forward in seeking justice.

Legal Bureau
Angkatan Muda Keadilan Malaysia

Legal Bureau
Angkatan Muda Keadilan Malaysia

Legal Bureau
Angkatan Muda Keadilan Malaysia

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