Ex-Anwar officer blasts NGOs over double standards in molest case

Muhammed Yusoff Rawther questions NGOs which had been silent over his allegations against Anwar Ibrahim.

KUALA LUMPUR: The man who claimed he was sexually assaulted by Anwar Ibrahim has accused several NGOs of double standards after a number of statements urging the authorities to investigate a prominent Muslim activist over a similar assault complaint lodged in February.

Muhammed Yusoff Rawther, whose police report against the PKR president last year sparked a criminal investigation complete with polygraph test, said he was puzzled by the reaction of the Joint Action Group for Gender Equality (JAG) which urged the police not to delay investigations into a series of claims made against the activist.

JAG, an umbrella body which brings together several women’s groups, had also called for the alleged perpetrator to be suspended from his official duties pending the completion of the investigation.

Yusoff asked why there were no such calls when he lodged a sexual assault report against Anwar.

“Why did the NGOs not demand that Anwar take a leave of absence until the investigations were concluded?” he asked.

Yesterday, police questioned the activist based on a report lodged by a male trainee doctor in February claiming he had been molested.

The activist strongly denied the allegations, saying he had been blackmailed by certain parties who wanted to take control of the NGO he founded.

“They gave me an ultimatum that I should step down or they would go to town with claims that I molested the trainee doctor,” he told FMT yesterday.

Yusoff, who is the grandson of late consumer activist SM Mohamed Idris, took to task civil society groups which urged for a swift police probe into the latest sexual assault case, saying they had “not even let out a squeak” when he made his revelations.

“My grandfather was a pioneer of NGO movements in Malaysia. He never shied away from speaking up on matters of injustice and he taught me the same. Regardless of race, creed or political powers, he always stood firm on the grounds of justice,” he added.

Yusoff, who worked as a research assistant at Anwar’s office in Petaling Jaya until June last year, took the polygraph test conducted by police. However, police have not made public the results of the test.

Anwar however refused to take a similar test, saying the onus was on his accuser to prove that he was telling the truth.

The Attorney-General’s Chambers later announced that it would not pursue a criminal case against Anwar, saying there was insufficient evidence for charges to be brought against him.

The PKR leader meanwhile said he would not sue Yusoff for defamation.

Yusoff said it was “terribly hypocritical and irresponsible” of NGOs to “pick and choose which case to voice out on and which to conveniently ignore”.

“Why did the NGOs, at the very least, not lend their moral support to me, as a victim?

“I strongly stress that these exploitations of self-serving causes is shameful and a disgrace to the cause that is activism,” he added.

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