An Open Letter to Our Members – Chronology of Events from 2009 – 2013
Despite issuing our standard response statement in the face of attacks on our organisation, which we had hoped would clarify the matter; the attacks on AWAM have not only continued but have also intensified. Based on this, we are now issuing a timeline or chronology of events for our members and supporters to clearly appreciate and understand the sequence of events and AWAM’s position and actions.
|8 April 2009
|The alleged incident was said to have happened around 7.30pm during a dinner amongst friends at a seafood restaurant in Bangsar Village.|
|24 April 2010
|A year after the alleged incident, the matter was for the first time officially brought to the attention of AWAM by way of an e-mail from the Complainant alleging that an incident which she found offensive had occurred in the course of a private dinner between her and a member of AWAM. This member was not an office-bearer of AWAM at that time.
Despite the fact that the alleged incident took place outside of AWAM; that the matter essentially involved two friends who were engaged in a private/personal discussion at the time; and that the Complainant was not a member of AWAM, when approached, AWAM helped to look into the matter in good faith and reached out to both parties to mediate the incident through an internal inquiry by a Committee which heard them out.
|After speaking to the Complainant and the member, the Committee’s view was that the incident complained of was inappropriate behaviour on the part of the member.|
|1 July 2010||The Committee explained its views to the Complainant in a meeting that lasted for one and a half hours.|
|11 July 2010||The Complainant acknowledged and signed off on the views of the Committee. A letter was then issued by AWAM to the member complained against and the matter was deemed closed.|
|13 March 2012||In preparation for its AGM, AWAM released the list of nominees for office bearers proposed and seconded by AWAM members for the election of office bearers for the year 2012 – 2014.
The member was nominated by AWAM members in accordance with the provisions of AWAM’s constitution for the post of Honorary Treasurer.
|24 March 2012||At the Annual General Meeting of AWAM, the member was duly elected by the voting members present to the position of Honorary Treasurer for 2012 – 2014.
The Nominations and the Elections was conducted in accordance with the provisions of AWAM’s Constitution.
This included circulating a notice beforehand informing all members of nominations for election.
No objection was received after the issuance of the notice in respect of the nomination of the member.
The list of nominees was also posted up and read aloud at the AGM. Again there were no objections raised on the election of the member and she was duly elected as an office bearer of AWAM.
|27 March 2012||AWAM received an e-mail from the Complainant registering her disappointment in the election of the member.
AWAM acknowledged receipt of the Complainants e-mail and an attempt was made to have a face-to-face meeting with the Complainant who was not available at the current time.
|29 March 2012||Inquiries were received from certain quarters including journalists and individuals in respect of the election of the member complained against.|
|30 March 2012||Complainant and her associate inserted postings on AWAM’s Facebook page questioning the election of the member complained against and insinuating that there was no transparency in AWAM and that AWAM’s silence will not protect AWAM.|
|30 March 2012||The member complained against approached the Executive Council of AWAM and offered to step down from the position of Honorary Treasurer on account of the negative Facebook postings against AWAM and her election as an office bearer.
The ExCo of AWAM advised the member complained against to reconsider as she was duly elected in accordance with AWAM’s constitution.
AWAM has followed due process in the election of office bearers at the AGM. The nomination of office bearers is not determined or dictated by AWAM and is the process of a democratic right of choice of AWAM Members in accordance with AWAM’s constitution.
Furthermore, the nominations for office bearers was subject to official election by voting members present at AWAM’s AGM on 24 March 2012 where any oppositions to the election of the office bearers could be voiced and heard.
AWAM’s Constitution does not permit AWAM to reject any nomination received in accordance with the provisions and neither does it give any right to AWAM to campaign for or against any nomination.
As the election of the member complained against was proper and in accordance with AWAM’s constitution, AWAM advised the member that she should not feel obliged to step down as the accusations in respect of her appointment were baseless.
Acceding to the demands of the disgruntled group would be going against the free choice made by AWAM members and not respecting AWAM’s constitution.
|1 – 18 April 2012||The Complainant and her associates continued to insert postings in AWAM’s Facebook page in respect of the election of the member as an office bearer and also questioned the credibility of AWAM as a feminist organisation and its commitment to fight Sexual Harassment.
AWAM issued statements clarifying the situation and reaffirming its policies in respect of its role as a feminist organisation.
The Complainant and her associates however persisted in continuing to hurl accusations and making unjustified comments.
|18 April 2012||Acting on the advice of its legal advisors that AWAM is legally accountable for the content of its Facebook page and that the escalation of the accusations being made in the Facebook page may expose AWAM to legal sanctions, AWAM decided to delete all postings related to the matter in its Facebook page.|
|April – August 2012||The Complainant and her associates were not happy and started a campaign of attacks against AWAM which included:
The Complainant was not happy with this response and inserted postings on the funders Facebook page publicly criticising the funder for standing by AWAM.
|13 August 2012||A senior officer of a sister organization wrote to the Complainant offering to mediate and have a meeting with the complainant to hear her grievances against AWAM.
The complainant replied declining to meet the senior officer and stating that she wants to continue her campaign against AWAM and also JAG for supporting AWAM.
|29 August 2012||AWAM called for a meeting of AWAM members to discuss and clarify the matter and the actions taken by AWAM.
The members in attendance were in agreement and fully supported the stand and action taken by AWAM.
|2 September 2012||An article appeared in a prominent English daily implying improper handling of the matter by AWAM and also critical of the actions of JAG in the matter by name.
An official letter of complaint was issued to the English daily and an apology to JAG was published.
|5 Oct 2012||The Complainant continued to target organisations that AWAM chose to work with, including writing to a prominent organisation that decided to partner with AWAM on several projects.|
|Oct 2012 – March 2013||The Complainant and her associates intensified the attacks on AWAM through the media as well as sending a series of e-mails to AWAM’s partners and sister organisations aimed at pressuring the organisations to withdraw their support of AWAM.|
|6 February 2013||AWAM posted its Standard Response Statement on its website to clarify the issue.|
|8 March 2013||The Complainant and her associates launched the Hold AWAM Accountable (HAA) blog.|
|8 March 2013||The Complainant and associates showed up at AWAM’s International Women’s Day event.
They proceeded to raise their grievances during the Q and A session of the programme. Attempts were made to answer their questions but the complainant was not ready to hear AWAM out.
The Complainant and her associates left the event once members of the audience made it clear that they didn’t agree to the raising of their personal grievances at an event such as this.
|March – May 2013||The complainant and her associates continued with the onslaught against AWAM and intensified their efforts.
They also had begun to be critical of any organization that was viewed by them to be supportive of AWAM and individuals in AWAM as well as the organisations.
Despite numerous attempts to clarify the matter the complainant and her associates remained adamant and the attacks continued.
|26 May 2013||JAG held the 2nd Annual AIYOH…WAT LAH Awards at Leonardo’s, Jalan Bangkung, Bangsar. The complainant and her associates made an appearance at the entrance together with a reporter / videographer from an online media. In the interest of preventing any disruption to the event the organisers decided to deny entry to the complainant and her associates. Upon being denied entry the complainant and her associates tried to force their way in and had to be physically blocked from entering. The complainant and her associates then started distributing leaflets they came prepared with and created a scene at the entrance. To allow the event to go on undisturbed, the organizers requested that the group break up and a quiet meeting be held elsewhere. Following this the complainant together with six of her associates, a representative of JAG and two representatives from AWAM adjourned to a nearby restaurant to discuss the matter. The reporter / videographer insisted on being present and proceeded to take photographs and videotaped the discussion. In the discussion it was agreed that a meeting between the parties be held on 16th June.|
|28 May 2013||An associate of the complainant called a Past President and current Secretary of AWAM in respect of the proposed meeting. The telephone conversation disintegrated to personal attacks and accusations on the Past President and current Secretary of AWAM.|
|28 May 2013||The associate of the complainant sent an e-mail to the Past President and current Secretary of AWAM stating that she had recorded the earlier telephone conversation and attached a transcript of the telephone conversation. In the transcript the associate of the complainant revealed the they also had a recording of an internal AWAM meeting on the matter.|
|31 May 2013||AWAM sent an e-mail to the complainant following up on the proposed meeting on 16th June and requesting for confirmation of the date and time of the meeting.|
|1 June 2013||The complainant responded by e-mail confirming the date and time of the meeting. The complainant also set out suggestions on the number of representative to attend the meeting, that a professional and independent mediator be engaged and that the meeting be videotaped. The complainant also offered to pay first for the rental of the venue and other costs but expects to be reimbursed by AWAM / JAG subsequent to the meeting.|
|3 June 2013||The complainant sent an e-mail to AWAM that they have found a suitable meeting venue with recording facilities which has been tentatively reserved. The complaint requested for confirmation of the booking of the venue and the engagement of the independent mediator and stated that if they do not hear any objection by AWAM by end of 5 June they will assume that AWAM is agreeable with the arrangements.|
|4 June 2013||AWAM replied to the complainant stating that AWAM has concerns in respect of the proposal and will revert as soon as possible.|
|4 June 2013||The complainant replied insisting that AWAM revert by 5 pm on 5 June 2013.|
|5 June 2013||AWAM sent an e-mail to the complainant reiterating that they have concerns over the proposals and required further consultation on the matter and that AWAM will revert latest by 9 June 2013.|
|6 June 2013||The complainant sent an e-mail to AWAM thanking AWAM for its e-mail and hoping to hear from AWAM soon. The complainant categorically stated that having an independent mediator and a videographer present at the meeting is non-negotiable for them.|
|7 June 2013||The complainant sent an e-mail to AWAM requesting confirmation on the appointment of the mediator.|
|9 June 20143||The President of AWAM reverted to the complainant voicing AWAM’s unhappiness on the confrontational tone set for the meeting and that AWAM cannot agree to the non-negotiable demands in respect of an independent mediator and videographer as it is contrary to the purpose and spirit of the meeting. AWAM requested the complainant for thoughts on how to proceed and was hoping and looking forward to having a friendly and fruitful meeting with the complainant.|
|11 June 2013||The complainant replied by e-mail to the President of AWAM rejecting AWAM’s views on the matter and that they will attend the meeting on 16 June and in the event AWAM /JAG fail to turn up, they will issue a press statement to the effect that AWAM and JAG have reneged on their agreement to meet.|
|12 June 2013||The complainant and her associates uploaded the entire correspondence between AWAM and the complainant on their Hold AWAM Accountable blog.|
|14 June 2013||AWAM sent an e-mail to the complainant regretting the tone and conditions set by the complainant for the meeting and that AWAM cannot accede to her demands nor succumb to threats or being bullied. AWAM reiterated its desire to meet with the complainant if the complainant is amenable to a friendly meeting and not one that is laced with hostility.|
|15 June 2013||Upon the request of the members of JAG, AWAM sent an e-mail to the complainant stating that in light of the circumstances, JAG will abstain from the meeting.|
|15 June 2013||The complainant and her associates posted the latest correspondence on the matter in their Hold AWAM Accountable blog and stating that AWAM and JAG are reneging on the agreement to meet with them.|
|16 June 2013||On account that the complainant had not withdrawn her demands nor agreed to a friendly meeting not laced with hostility, AWAM did not attend the proposed meeting at 2.30 pm.|
|16 June 2013||AWAM issues a press statement on the matter.|
|14 July 2013||The complainant and her associates came to AWAM’s 8th Charity Treasure Hunt ‘Step Up For Change’ at the SS2 Mall, Petaling Jaya and disrupted the event. The act of one of the associates in snatching the handphone of AWAM’s President caused a reaction which ended up in a commotion including the same associate trying to slap the President of AWAM. AWAM has lodged a Police report and are leaving it to the authorities to investigate the matter. AWAM reiterates its call for all parties not to disrupt programs organised by AWAM for the benefit of everyone and to avoid unnecessary incidents.|