KOTA KINABALU: A politician at the centre of an alleged sexual harassment and assault storm here has been picked up by police.
Policemen, believed to be from the criminal investigation department, came to the office of Phillip Among, a member of Parti Solidariti Tanah Airku (STAR), while he was talking to reporters during a press conference at his office here at 12.30pm.
Among, who has been stripped of his position as the party’s Putatan parliamentary coordinator over the controversy, held the PC to answer accusations thrown at him over claims he had molested a contestant at the Unduk Ngadau Kaamatan beauty pageant and assaulted a Rela officer recently.
Among told reporters he had filed civil suits against the contestant, the Rela officer and online media portals over the accusations, claiming they were false.
The authorities spent over 30 minutes in his office after the media left, before whisking Among away in an unmarked police vehicle, believed to be for questioning at the state police contingent headquarters in Kepayan here.
His lawyer, Marcel Jude, said Among was taken by the police to help in the investigations into the sexual harassment and assault claims.
Earlier in the press conference, Among told reporters that he was ready to cooperate with the police “at all times”.
He said he was “utterly shocked and disgusted” with the false allegations in the police reports by the beauty contestant and Rela personnel.
“I have instructed my lawyers to initiate court proceedings against the two individuals together with certain publishers.
“I will also be filing further suits against those who published these malicious stories on the internet, including on WhatsApp,” he said.
Among denied that he molested the contestant, claiming that the entire story and police report was “a fabrication intended to hurt and damage me, my family and my personal and public reputation”.
He also denied the claim that he had assaulted the Rela personnel.
Among said since his appointment as the Putatan parliamentary coordinator, he had received much support from the rakyat but “at the same time there have been many people who are jealous and willing to resort to gutter politics to harm and destroy me”.
Besides civil suits over the social media posts, he said he had also instructed his lawyers to file complaints under the Communications and Multimedia Act.
He also believed that the allegations were “part of a political conspiracy”.
“I believe there are enemies within and outside; they can attack you from multiple angles.”
Meanwhile, Jude said that just because police reports were filed against his client, it did not mean Among was guilty.
“There are no charges but how can (the party) penalise Among without giving him a chance to be heard?
“One of the cardinal principles of jurisprudence is that anyone is innocent until proven guilty,” he said.
Meanwhile, state police commissioner Hazani Ghazali confirmed that a politician had been arrested at around noon today following claims of sexual harassment by a contestant at the recent Unduk Ngadau Kaamatan pageant.
He said the investigation is framed under Section 354 of the Penal Code for using criminal force to outrage the modesty of a person.
When asked about public concerns over a possible cover-up due to the man’s political connections, Hazani told FMT that the people should not be worried.
“What cover-up? There will be no such thing.
“Nobody is above the law. Don’t worry, we will investigate accordingly,” he said, adding that the police will call up the complainant to come and complete her statement.
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