Selangor Journal

Sexual harrassment: Para-swimming coach goes on leave — Minister

KUALA LUMPUR, Feb 29 — The coach linked to the sexual harassment case involving national swimmers has gone on leave until the investigation into the misconduct issue is completed, said Youth and Sports Minister Hannah Yeoh.

As soon as the report was received recently, the safeguarding officer of the National Sports Council (MSN) held a meeting with the athletes involved to protect their rights through the Safe Sports code, which was launched on March 15 last year.

Appropriate action will be taken against the coach if she is found guilty in the ongoing police investigation.

“Receiving an email in the account is like a poison pen letter (surat layang), and when a police report was made, we immediately rested the coach to ensure the investigation continued.

“But if this (email) letter is correct, MSN will take immediate action.. but if the reporting of all this continues and the (email) letter is not true, I can foresee legal action coming,” she said.

Youth and Sports Minister Hannah Yeoh speaks to the press after the Women’s Day ministry-level celebration, at Pusat Dagangan NZX Lembah Subang in Petaling Jaya, on March 11, 2023. — Picture by BERNAMA

Yeoh was speaking to the press after inaugurating the Safe Sports Code: Anti-Sexual Harassment in Sports seminar at the National Sports Institute in Bukit Jalil today.

She added some national swimming athletes want the service of the coach to continue guiding the team in preparation for the Paris Paralympic Games 2024, from August 28 to September 8.

However, the MSN will first examine the request before making any decision, especially when the national athletes’ safety is its priority.

“As the police are conducting an investigation into allegations involving the coach. we cannot interfere even though some athletes have requested that this coach continue to train them. This coach has been with them since 2017…so it has been a long time.

“The athletes have requested (for the same coach to teach) because (they) will be competing in the Paralympic Games later in Paris, a few months from now, as they do not want their preparation for the Paralympic Games to be interrupted,” Yeoh said.

In the meantime, the minister confirmed that no new coach was included in the Paralympic Council Malaysia (PCM) as a replacement.

A local media report previously revealed that PCM confirmed a coach had been investigated for sexually harassing minor athletes.

According to the report, PCM president Datuk Seri Megat D. Shahriman Zaharudin said the governing body filed a police report after receiving an email regarding the matter from the Malaysian Para Swimming Association (MPSA) last week.

MSN, on the other hand, insisted it had never received a report or complaint from any of the athletes regarding sexual misconduct by the coach before the latest complaint on Tuesday (February 27).

— Bernama

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