Women’s groups tell PKR to probe Kesavan over sexual harassment claim

Sungai Siput MP Kesavan Subramaniam has denied allegations of sexual harassment against him.

PETALING JAYA: About a dozen women’s groups are calling on PKR to launch an internal probe into the party’s Sungai Siput MP Kesavan Subramaniam, following a police report against the first-term MP by a woman accusing him of sexual harassment.

The organisations. which are part of the Joint Action Group for Gender Equality (JAG). said the party should take seriously the allegations against Kesavan, and form an investigation panel made up of experts including both men and women.

“Political parties should not tolerate sexual harassment. We deserve elected representatives who respect women,” said the statement signed by, among others, the All Women’s Action Society and the Women’s Aid Organisation and endorsed by 11 women’s rights groups.

Last week, a woman lodged a police report claiming she had been a victim of sexual harassment by Kesavan, which included calling her up to 50 times a day and making verbal passes.

She also accused Kesavan of showing the Kamasutra book through video calls and sending her obscene pictures.

Selangor police said they were investigating the allegations.

Kesavan has since rejected the woman’s claim as malicious, and accused her instead of trying to take advantage of him and disrupting his household.

The women’s groups however warned that existing criminal laws were not effective in dealing with cases of sexual harassment.

“So police investigations may 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,” the statement said.