Cops confirm investigation into journalist's sexual harassment claims

Modified 20 Aug 2019, 3:28 pm

A dermatologist from a Kuala Lumpur clinic is under investigation after a number of sexual harassment allegations emerged over the weekend.

The case came to light after Tashny Sukumaran, Malaysia's correspondent for South China Morning Post, went public on Twitter on Aug 16 with allegations that she had been touched inappropriately during a consultation on dry skin on her shins.

She claimed that the dermatologist Dr Ruban Nathan had unnecessarily lifted her leg onto his lap without her consent.

She also maintained that she was not closely accompanied by a nurse during her examination, but should have been.

When she published an account of her experience on social media, a number of others also recounted sexual harassment episodes at the same venue.

After consulting a senior specialist and a lawyer, Tashny filed a police report over the matter and also lodged a complaint with the Malaysian Medical Council (MMC).

Yesterday, she updated her followers with the information that she had to go back to the clinic to assist police in their investigations.

Tashny said she then met with a fellow survivor to talk about their shared experiences.

A number of calls to the clinic's listed number were not answered as the line was busy.

In a report by The Star today, however, Nathan was quoted speaking out against the allegation.

“The allegation is without corroboration and claims that a superficial skin examination of her shin to knee was somehow tantamount to sexual harassment.

“A trained nurse was in attendance during the entire five-minute consultation,” he reportedly said.

The Kuala Lumpur Criminal Investigation Department chief Rusdi Md Isa confirmed that the allegations were being investigated under Section 354 of Penal Code, which covers assault or use of criminal force on a person with the intent to outrage modesty.

If found guilty, this allows for imprisonment for a term which may extend to ten years or with a fine or with whipping, or with any two of such punishments.

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