Youth and Sports Minister Datuk Seri Ahmad Faizal Azumu today defended his remarks to national diver Datuk Pandelela Rinong who recently spoke up about sexual harassment incidents she endured from national coaches in the past.
According to Malay Mail, he said his remarks questioning why the Olympian only spoke up about the issue that happened many years ago had been taken out of context by the media.
“Of course the government views the matter seriously, what more if acts beyond sexual harassment had indeed taken place which were perpetrated by coaches or sport officers.
“And what I said in a press conference yesterday, that we have to obtain a full and detailed explanation from Datuk Pandelela herself and those allegedly involved in the acts, may have been taken out of context by the media. So I tried to obtain a fuller understanding before taking relevant action,” he said in the Dewan Rakyat this morning (26 Oct).
Since Faizal’s statement this morning, Pandelela Rinong said that she understood the situation and explanation of the Sports Minister and was grateful that he will be taking action, according to FMT.
In a Twitter post, Pandelela also said she understood it fully after watching the whole video of the press conference that contained the controversial remarks which happened yesterday. Take a look:
ICYMI, Pandelela 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 glamorised. 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 Faizal reportedly questioned her motives for bringing up an “old story” about her former coach.
Besides that, 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.