BERSATU’S ‘TRYING TO UNDERSTAND’ MINISTER GETS A BASHING FOR HIS OWN STUPIDITY & CLUMSY ATTEMPT TO UNDERMINE PANDELELA

MPs fume at sports minister for undermining Pandelela with his remarks

Opposition leaders have savaged Youth and Sports Minister Ahmad Faizal Azumu for questioning national diver Pandelela Rinong’s motives in bringing up an “old story” about her former coach.

Setiawangsa MP Nik Nazmi said Faizal was gaslighting Pandelela in the wake of her revelations on sexual harassment within the national sports system.

Gaslighting is a colloquial term to describe the action of putting forth a false narrative that leads another person to question themselves.

“If only our ministers and deputy ministers listened to the women of Malaysia rather than gaslight them. Now is the time to listen, not ask questions which answers are obvious,” he said on Twitter.

Lembah Pantai MP Fahmi Fadzil

Lembah Pantai MP Fahmi Fadzil echoed this sentiment, saying: “Faizal’s comments are disappointing for a minister in charge of youth and sports.

“Instead of questioning ‘why now’, he should really be asking ‘who else may be experiencing sexual harassment but may have decided against speaking up because of fear or any other factors.’

“Does he not take the matter seriously?” asked Fahmi, speaking to Malaysiakini.

PKR Senator Fadhlina Sidek said she was horrified by the minister’s response.

“He has failed the ministry by being in a state of denial. By questioning Pandelela’s intentions in bringing up the issue, he’s being an enabler of rape culture.

“He’s being permissive and failing to understand the situation and the impact of rape culture happening in the sports industry.

“He should have applauded Pandelela for being brave and bold for speaking up. This is beyond awareness, this is a war against perverts, rape culture and about protecting our sportsmen and women,” she told Malaysiakini.

Pandelela herself said she had shared her experience with sexual harassment involving her former coach in order to offer support and embolden other victims of sexual harassment, saying she wanted to encourage future victims to “be brave when I wasn’t”.

“I shared my ‘not so nice’ experience to give awareness to the public, and support for victims out there, who are always in dilemma, whether to speak up or stay silent.

“Most importantly, enabler and their backups shouldn’t be glamorised. Others may forget, but not the victim,” she said.

Last Thursday, Pandelela shared on social media that she had a coach who liked to make lewd jokes, but athletes could not do anything about him because he had the backing of the head coach.

When she eventually did speak up, she said she was bullied as a consequence.

She claimed the coach committed rape seven years later.

According to Faizal’s deputy Ti Lian Ker last Friday, the coach’s services had since been terminated with immediate effect, while the head coach’s contract was not extended.

In May, swimmer Cindy Ong told Malaysiakini how she had encountered sexual harassment and assault over the years, including from a national coach when she was a teenager.

Wangsa Maju MP Tan Yee Kew

Call for probe

Wangsa Maju MP Tan Yee Kew said that as the minister of youth and sports, Faizal should be more sympathetic to Pandelela for the ordeal she went through and thank her for her courage to speak up.

“Old stories? Did he not realise that victims of sexual harassment are often traumatised for many years, some a lifetime? I am irked by his ignorance.

“He has not only failed to assure the safety of our young athletes, but he has also failed to see and address the issue from the right perspective,” she said.

Tan said the minister should order a probe into the allegations instead.

“It is not enough to just casually speak to certain parties trying to get a picture of that particular incident.

“He should order an investigation on the present situation at the ministry’s training centres to give assurances to the public, especially parents whose children are under training that no similar incident is happening today,” she added.

Tan was also not impressed by Faizal telling reporters that he has spoken to certain people regarding the incident to get a clearer picture of what happened and would be speaking to former youth and sports minister Khairy Jamaluddin soon.

“Please don’t try to pass the buck to the former minister. You are the minister of the day, you take full responsibility,” she said.

Kepong MP Lim Lip Eng also chided Faizal, saying that if the earlier case had been adequately addressed by the Misconduct and Harassment in Sports Committee and the Athletes’ Commission under the Olympic Council of Malaysia, she would not have brought up the “old stories” of her former coach’s alleged sexual misconduct.

“I would like to ask the minister, since when does justice have a timeline to it? It is not how long ago the incident happened, but a crime remains a crime, and there is no excuse that the alleged crime happened ‘a long time ago’.

“In fact, the trend in the country is quite alarming. Recently, a local actor was featured in a national TV talk show joking about how he enjoyed filming rape scenes.

“Another case involving a school teacher who made rape jokes while chatting with his students also clearly shows that the government has failed to address the issue competently, and women, including Pandelela, had to take to social media to highlight the lewd jokes by a national coach,” he said in a statement.

“Pandelela should, in fact, be applauded for her courage to come out in the open to expose such behaviours, in order to put a stop to sexual harassment and the perpetrators of such crimes should not go unpunished as this would embolden others to do the same.

“Pandelela is older now, and she has picked up enough courage to speak out against the crime. When she was much younger and lesser-known to the Malaysian public, she might be afraid of being kicked out of the national diver team for her expose.

“I wonder if Faizal’s comments would now discourage other sexual victims from speaking out. I believe there are many more such cases, and for some, it is a trauma they take to their graves,” he said, adding that an independent inquiry should be carried out immediately by the Youth and Sports Ministry.  MKINI

I shared my experience to support other victims, says Pandelela

National diver Pandelela Rinong said she had shared her experience of sexual harassment involving her former coach in order to offer support and embolden other victims to speak up.

She said she wanted to encourage future victims to “be brave when I wasn’t”.

“I shared my ‘not so nice’ experience to give awareness to the public, and support for victims out there, who are always in dilemma, whether to speak up or stay silent.

“Most importantly, enablers and their backups shouldn’t be glamourised. Others may forget, but not the victim,” the two-time Olympic medallist said through her Twitter account last night.

While she did not address her tweets to anyone directly, it came just hours after Youth and Sports Minister Ahmad Faizal Azumu reportedly questioned her motives for bringing up an “old story” about her former coach.

“I am trying to understand why after a long time, Lela (Pandelela) wants to put this out on social media,” he was quoted as saying.

Last Thursday, Pandelela shared on social media that she had a coach who liked to make lewd jokes, but athletes could not do anything about him because he had the backing of the head coach.

When she eventually did speak up, she said she was bullied as a consequence.

She claimed the coach committed rape seven years later.

According to Faizal’s deputy Ti Lian Ker last Friday, the coach’s services had since been terminated with immediate effect, while the head coach’s contact was not extended.

Pandelela’s revelation came amid national outrage against actor Mohd Fauzi Mohd Nawawi who was chastised online for joking on a talk show about how he enjoyed filming rape scenes. Fauzi has since apologised.

In May, swimmer Cindy Ong told Malaysiakini how she had encountered sexual harassment and assault over the years, including from a national coach when she was a teenager. MKINI

MKINI

.