PKR should probe MP’s sexual harassment case, say women’s group

A former aide lodged a police report in Selangor against Sungai Siput Member of Parliament S. Kesavan but he denied the allegation, saying he was leaving it to the police to investigate. — Picture by Farhan Najib
A former aide lodged a police report in Selangor against Sungai Siput Member of Parliament S. Kesavan but he denied the allegation, saying he was leaving it to the police to investigate. — Picture by Farhan Najib

KUALA LUMPUR, May 24 — Joint Action Group for Gender Equality (JAG) today urged Parti Keadilan Rakyat (PKR) to conduct an internal investigation into the party’s Sungai Siput Member of Parliament S. Kesavan following a sexual harassment report lodged against him by a former aide.

Urging PKR to take the sexual harassment accusation seriously, JAG said PKR should appoint an investigation panel that is independent, gender-diverse and has the expertise to deal with such cases.

“Political parties should not tolerate sexual harassment. We deserve elected representatives who respect women. The panel should review PKR’s policies and response to sexual harassment generally,” said the coalition of 11 women’s rights organisations nationwide in a statement here.

Last week the former aide lodged a police report in Selangor against the first-term PKR MP but Kesavan denied the allegation, saying he was leaving it to the police to investigate.

JAG said while police are investigating the matter, the existing criminal laws do not adequately cover sexual harassment and might not resolve the case.

“While this case highlights the need for the Sexual Harassment Bill to be enacted, PKR need not wait for the new law. PKR must hold itself to high internal standards.

“We urge all political parties to adopt internal policies to prevent and respond to sexual harassment,” it said. — Bernama

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