POLICE are investigating the allegation that a prominent NGO activist had sexually assaulted a trainee doctor at a hospital in Kuala Lumpur last November.
The alleged incident had also prompted several members of the suspect’s organisation to resign.
A police source confirmed that an investigation is ongoing but declined to reveal further details, including the number of statements which have been recorded.
“The case is under investigation. We will forward our findings to the deputy public prosecutor for further instruction,” he told Malaysiakini.
According to the trainee doctor’s report on Feb 17, the suspect, who is also a doctor, had “groped and kissed” the complainant on the first day the latter reported for work.
The 27-year-old complainant alleged that the suspect had hugged him after hearing of his financial woes when pursuing his degree abroad.
“He then started kissing my neck and cheeks,” he claimed.
Speaking to Malaysiakini, the complainant said he took four months to file the police report due to the trauma he experienced and concern over his alleged assailant’s influence.
“First of all, I did not dare (take action). He is someone who has influence in the activist world.
“It took me a long time to get rid of fear and trauma. I often blame myself – what did I do wrong?
“I dared not talk (about what happened to) my family and my fiancée. I am also afraid of (making) the wrong move,” he added.
The complainant revealed that he sent an email to the suspect on Nov 12 – eight days after the alleged incident – demanding an apology and his resignation as the head of the NGO.
“…When I heard him speak like a defender of Islam and justice, I wanted to vomit. If he was true to his words, he would not have done this,” he added.
The complainant was also a member of the NGO which is well-known for voicing opinions that are considered “pragmatic” in issues involving Islam, including the view that Malaysia is a secular nation.
Meanwhile, the complainant claimed that the activist initially indicated he was prepared to step down but did not do so.
“Instead he recently called an internal meeting with all the board members saying he wanted to retain his position.
“But everybody voted to get him out. Out of four people on the team, one has quit, three more voted for him to be removed.
“[….] He said if no one wanted to work with him, he would change everyone in the NGO. He still insists on being its director.
“When he tried to return to the NGO, I got angry. That is why I was brave enough to make the police report,” he added.
Malaysiakini is withholding the name of the suspect and the complainant since the matter has not been brought to court.
‘We have lost faith in his leadership’
This issue had led various other NGOs to call for the members of the suspect’s organisation to resign in protest on social media.
One of those who resigned took to Facebook to state that he has lost faith in the assailant’s leadership.
“We have lost faith in his leadership for violating the principles of his own NGO, such as human dignity, justice and democracy.
“We believe that as long as he is present, the NGO will continue to be in jeopardy. We do not want the NGO’s pure efforts to be tainted by his personal actions…
“As such, I … (active) from 2014-2019 and now a regular member, am withdrawing from the NGO as long as they are led by such activists,” he wrote.
Contacted for comment, the alleged assailant told Malaysiakini he is seeking legal advice before responding to the media.
In a related development, the Joint Action Group for Gender Equality (JAG) issued a statement urging the NGO to conduct an internal investigation.
“[…] Appropriate action should be taken to ensure the privacy of the complainant and his or her safety throughout the investigation.
“The accused should also suspend any official duty until the investigation is over. This is to ensure that the investigation is conducted fairly,” it added.