WWF-Malaysia launches internal review over alleged sexual misconduct

WWF-Malaysia executive director Datuk Dionysius Sharma gives his speech at event held in conjunction with Earth Day in Kuala Lumpur April 22, 2017. — Picture by Hari Anggara
WWF-Malaysia executive director Datuk Dionysius Sharma gives his speech at event held in conjunction with Earth Day in Kuala Lumpur April 22, 2017. — Picture by Hari Anggara

PETALING JAYA, March 2 — The World Wide Fund for Nature Malaysia (WWF-Malaysia) has launched an internal investigation into sexual misconduct allegations by a former employee, The Star reported today.

WWF-Malaysia Executive Director and Chief Executive Officer Datuk Dr Dionysius Sharma said that WWF-Malaysia has a zero-tolerance approach to sexual harassment.

“This includes the allegations brought forward by former staff members via Facebook. We have immediately launched a review of these troubling allegations and although the relevant staff left the organisation some time ago, we will investigate this matter and continue to reach out to those who feel victimised.

“We are committed to listen to them and reassure them that we will do our best to address the grave concerns they have raised," he reportedly said.

Dr Dionysius also said the organisation has a whistleblowing policy where staff can raise their grievances without fear.

“We are determined to continually strengthen our policies to safeguard the rights of those who work with us. WWF-Malaysia wishes to state that the respect, security and dignity of all our staff and the people we work with are of paramount concern,” he said.

This follows allegations by former WWF-Malaysia employee Rahayu Zulkifli, that a complaint had been lodged by her as well as other females colleagues against a top ''asset" of the organisation over sexual harassment, yet no action was taken by the conservation group’s leadership.

Rahayu also told the English daily despite numerous reports lodged to the organisation’s human resource department, her colleagues were told to drop the allegations on the grounds that there was no evidence.

Despite the alleged perpetrator having left WWF-Malaysia of his own accord and the matter having taken place some ten years ago, Rahayu said she was emboldened by the global #MeToo movement.

Subsequently, another Facebook user by the name of Linda posted her predicament on Rahayu’s post, citing she had also complained being sexually harassed when she first joined WWF- Malaysia, but no action was taken to reprimand those responsible by the conservation group.

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