MALACCA: The Malaysian Olympic medal winners have been described as “a gift of God” to the local sporting fraternity by Chief Minister Datuk Seri Idris Haron.
Idris said the athletes had placed Malaysia in the top of the global sporting chart and Malaysians should be proud of their achievement.
“They are God’s gift to the nation and no one should raise up racial issues regarding our medallists because they placed their heart and soul competing at the Rio Olympics,” he said in an interview.
Idris said as a Malaysian, he was proud of the medal winners and has invited badminton star Goh Liu Ying for breakfast at his official residence.
“I don't beat around the bush and my statements are from my heart and these are sometimes misperceived by certain quarters with ulterior motives,” he said referring to academician Ridhuan Tee Abdullah for saying the Malaysian Olympic medal winners were unpatriotic and only competing in sports for monetary rewards.
“Is he a true Malaysian? ” he asked.
“When I was a boy growing in rural Asahan, I witnessed many Indian, Chinese, Iban and Malay people in the armed forces fighting the communist insurgency then.
“I don’t forget the past or those who have helped me just because I am now the Chief Minister.
Similarly, those who have contributed to the nation shouldn’t be forgotten.
“I don’t know how long we will delve on race and continue to make derogatory remarks about others.
“This kind of attitude is detrimental to the nation and for the unity of Malaysians,” he said recognising how India stood united to welcome shuttler P. V Sindhu for winning a silver medal at the Olympics.
“She is from the south and all the Indians, regardless of their religion and background, hailed her as the country’s hero without any preposterous comments.”