KUALA LUMPUR, March 25 – The government will develop a Safe Sport Act to manage and address sexual harassment cases in sports, said Minister of Youth and Sports Ahmad Faizal Azumu. He said the Ministry will prepare a draft of the Act latest by December this year.
The Act will be a guide for all stakeholders in handling the issue of sexual harassment. It will also help ensure that there are mechanisms within the law to protect all those involved in sports.
Additionally, the government will create a Safe Sport Complaint Unit involving representatives from NGOs. “This unit will function to accept and manage complaints immediately and to organise advocacy programmes and engagement activities on sexual harassment with athletes and those involved in sports,” he said.
According to Faizal, the government will also make amendments to the Second and Third Schedule of the Sports Development Act 1997 (Act 576) by including elements of safe sport into the constitution of all sport bodies that are responsible for ensuring matters related to sexual harassment are handled and managed effectively.
“This amendment is expected to be enforced latest by July this year,” he said in his written Dewan Rakyat reply to Batang Lupar MP, Rohani Abdul Karim.
Rohani had asked about the Ministry’s response to allegations of sexual harassment towards athletes and how training sessions and programmes will be monitored to avoid sexual harassment cases.
The problem of sexual harassment in sports drew public attention when former national swimmer Cindy Ong spoke out about how she experienced it when she was representing the country in her teenage years.
National diver, Pandelela Rinong, has also related her encounter with sexual harassment by a former coach.
Faizal said through the National Sports Council (NSC), the Ministry had established a Committee on Misconduct and Protection in Sports in 2020 to “ensure that the management of complaints on the country’s high performance sports is handled in an efficient, organised and effective manner.
“With the establishment of this committee, the Ministry makes room for athletes, coaches, sports officers and sports associations to come forward to voice their complaints, problems and views to the Ministry at any time.”