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Joanna Datuk Kitingan

3 June 2021

By Wartawan Nabalu News

KOTA KINABALU: Chairperson of the 2021 Unduk Ngadau Kaamatan Borderless, Joanna Datuk Kitingan hopes that victims of sexual harassment would come forward so that they can be protected.

In her statement today, she said this is also so that the Unduk Ngadau reputation can be upheld.

Joanna said she and her committee were saddened and shocked to learn the recent sexual harassment allegation made against one of her committee members by an Unduk Ngadau contestant that was reported all over the media.

"As a long-time organiser of the Unduk Ngadau Kaamatan, we have always protected our young contestants together with the chaperones throughout the six-day pageant week (May 27 to June 1).

"How this incident could have happened was beyond our control. We were not aware nor informed of the whereabouts of this contestant when this incident had happened according to the date and time of the reports, which was before the selection of the Top 21.

"We hope that more alleged victims will come forward and state their case as we want our Unduk Ngadau name to be upheld and protect our young contestants," she said.

Joanna also praised the alleged victim for her bravery in reporting the case, adding that she and the rest of the community empathise with what the young contestant had to go through.

"We believe that justice should be brought to this contestant, the guilty should be severely dealt with. In the meanwhile, we will give our fullest cooperation if needed by the police in their investigations," she asserted.

Joanna also mentioned that the committee organised an awareness talk on sexual harassment via Zoom throughout the six-day pageant week.