Minister told to apologise to all women, including diving champion

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KUCHING: Social activist Voon Shiak Ni has said it was insensitive and unprofessional of Datuk Seri Ahmad Faizal Azumu to downplay diving champion Datuk Pandelela Rinong Pamg’s action of speaking out against sexual harassment.

Ahmad Faizal, who is the federal Youth and Sports Minister, was told to support Pandelela, an Olympian, by Voon, a lawyer.

“Ahmad Faizal, you may not be a woman but may not understand the impact of those sexual utterances and jokes.

“It is everyone’s duty to protect our girls and women against any form of abuse and  harassment be it reported early or late. Late reporting does not make any crime a lesser one or less traumatic,” Voon said on Tuesday (Oct 26).

She added that Pandelela was doing the right thing – being courageous and bold, speaking up not only for herself but for all girls and women out there.

“She is using her influence to encourage all those victims who may still be suffering in silence in their homes and workplaces. She takes the lead. We are proud of her.”

Voon, who is also the Council of Malaysian Women Political Leaders (Comwel) Sarawak head, said it was general knowledge that many cases of sexual abuse or sexual harassment were shelved by victims themselves because of the public stigma and threats by reporting or exposing sex crimes.

“It takes a lot of courage and bravery to report these crimes.

“I want Ahmad Faizal to apologise to Pandelela and all women and girls for downplaying reports of sexual harassment.

“As a minister, Ahmad Faizal should support Pandelela for her courage to speak up instead of questioning her motives.”

Ahmad Faizal recently questioned Pandelela’s action of revealing alleged sexual harassment by her former coach, however, Ahmad Faizal has since clarified that he was misquoted by the media.

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