Respect privacy of those named in BFM sexual harassment letter, says Hannah Yeoh

Women, Family and Children Development Deputy Minister Hannah Yeoh speaks to reporters after opening a forum on sexual harassment in Putrajaya December 7, 2018. — Picture by Miera Zulyana
Women, Family and Children Development Deputy Minister Hannah Yeoh speaks to reporters after opening a forum on sexual harassment in Putrajaya December 7, 2018. — Picture by Miera Zulyana

PUTRAJAYA, Dec 7 — Women, Family and Children Development Deputy Minister Hannah Yeoh today appealed for the public to respect the privacy of those named in the letter alleging sexual harassment culture at popular business radio station BFM.

The Segambut MP urged members of the public not to spread the email and refrain from speculation, saying those implicated have the right to a fair tribunal and privacy until the investigation is concluded.

“I have been getting emails from (Segambut) residents asking me what are we going to do about it,” Yeoh told reporters after opening a forum on sexual harassment organised by her ministry and the United Nations Malaysia Team here.

“And I appeal to the people to stop doing that simply because there are a lot of...alleged victims’ names in there (letter) and based on our experience dealing with (such cases), it is very painful.”

Yeoh added that circulating the letter could have adverse effects on the lives of those implicated, even when they have yet to be found guilty.

The tendency for this to happen is higher with high profile sexual harassment cases.

“Even if they have issued a statement, the damage will be done,” Yeoh said, referring to BFM’s statement that it is investigating the sexual harassment allegation.

“So have some compassion for the names and the alleged victims also,” she added.

An anonymous letter alleging a “culture” of sexual harassment at BFM was sent out to various news outlets on November 29, and leaked online shortly after.

The writer in the letter claimed sexual harassment at BFM was common as well as cover-up by the management on behalf of favoured staff members.

BFM reiterated today that a fully independent and open investigation into the anonymous complaint of workplace sexual harassment is ongoing.

The statement followed strong calls for BFM’s management to ensure a fair and transparent investigation.

Rights groups noted that such investigations often end up with the mildest punishment against the perpetrators, especially if it involves male superiors.

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