Chew Mei Fun: Allow sports to grow

  • Nation
  • Sunday, 14 Jun 2015

PETALING JAYA: Artistic gymnast Farah Ann Hadi Abdullah should be congratulated for winning six medals at the SEA Games instead of being taunted at over the costume she wore, said MCA vice-president Datin Paduka Chew Mei Fun.

Chew said it was regretted that segments in Malaysian society had chosen to taunt Farah Ann with references to a woman’s private part and modesty over her leotard, a standard costume for gymnastic.

Even more worrying, she said, was that a well known religious figure from Perak had declared that “gymnastics is not for Muslim women. If Muslim women want to participate in gymnastics, they have to find outfits which cover the aurat.”

Chew said the man also argued that Muslim men should wear shorts to cover their knees when playing football.

"Such statements will not only stagnate the participation of women in sports but for men as well.

"Let it be known that Arab countries and Muslim footballers in all continents from Europe, Africa and Asia have participated successively in FIFA’s World Cup wearing short pants," Chew said in a statement.

Chew, the deputy minister of Women, Family and Community Development, said she supported social activist Datin Paduka Marina Mahathir who, in defence of Farah Ann, had rebuked “those people who spend their time looking at athlete’s private parts, what exactly have they done to bring glory to their country?”

Chew said Malaysia was now recovering from the “sarong JPJ” controversy, in reference to the woman who was asked to wear a sarong in order to perform transactions at the Road Transport Department.

"Some have even said sarcastically that JPJ should provide sarongs to gymnasts in their performance.

"People finding fault at sports attire will confine women, in particular, Muslim women to the domestic sphere as the issue of so-called “revealing” sportswear is not restricted to gymnastic but all other sports.

"Will sports in Malaysia thus become a male-centric, non-Muslim domain which will not bode well for national unity or harnessing talent and sports development?" said Chew.

"To Farah Ann, I extend to you a heartiest Syabas. Keep up the Malaysia Boleh spirit.

"May your victory, and even more so, your perseverance amidst these onslaught parochial, arm-chair critics, be a shining torch to encourage more young Malaysian women to take up gymnastic and other types of sports to nurture all-rounder and progressive Malaysians," she said.
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