NIBONG TEBAL: Penang police have confirmed the arrest of a man to assist in the investigation of the alleged sexual harassment against a female journalist during the Sungai Bakap state by-election campaign on Wednesday (July 3) night.

Penang police chief Comm Datuk Hamzah Ahmad, who confirmed the arrest, said the suspect turned himself in at the Seberang Perai Selatan (SPS) District Police Headquarters on Thursday (July 4).

“The man is currently remanded for two days for further investigation into the case, and the police guarantee that a detailed and transparent investigation will be conducted,” he said when contacted by Bernama.

Communications Minister Fahmi Fadzil said, in a statement Thursday, that he took the incident seriously and strongly condemned it.

“I have received more information regarding the incident from the journalist in question and thank the police, who gave assurances that they would conduct a detailed and transparent investigation. The guilty parties must be immediately brought to justice.

“Incidents like this should not happen at all, let alone when media practitioners are on duty,” Fahmi said.

It is understood that the alleged sexual harassment occurred at Dewan Khairat Sungai Kecil on Wednesday night while the journalist was covering an event involving Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Dr Ahmad Zahid Hamidi, who is also Umno president.

The alleged sexual harassment by the man, who claimed to be a party worker, was reportedly witnessed by several other media practitioners.

Meanwhile, Home Minister Datuk Seri Saifuddin Nasution assured that the allegations of sexual harassment against the journalist will be investigated.

Saifuddin, who is also PKR Secretary-General, said that the matter would be scrutinised by his party as soon as they receive updates on the incident.

“The news has not yet reached me, possibly because I have been busy with the campaign. If a report has been made, I want to assure that it falls entirely under the authority of the police.

“Use the provisions of the law available, conduct a professional investigation, and follow the legal procedures,” he said at a Pakatan Harapan press conference at the unity government’s main operations room in Sungai Bakap here Thursday.

Also present were PH election director for the by-election Datuk Dr Mohamad Abdul Hamid, the Prime Minister’s senior political secretary Datuk Seri Shamsul Iskandar Mohd Akin and PH candidate Dr Joohari Ariffin.

Polling for the by-election is this Saturday (July 6). – Bernama