PETALING JAYA: Leave athletes alone and respect their choices of sports outfits, says Youth and Sports Minister Syed Saddiq Abdul Rahman.
The Minister came to the defence of athletes after it was decreed that Terengganu's athletes should wear shariah-compliant clothes starting from 2019 following a directive by the PAS-led Terengganu state government.
“Please respect the choice of our HEROES & HEROINES. Leave them alone.
“I will stand with all of them regardless of their outfits. I am here because of them. Please leave them alone!” he wrote on his Facebook page on Monday (Nov 26).
Dictating what athletes should wear is alarming as the future of sports like gymnastics, diving, swimming, bodybuilding will be affected, said the Minister.
These were sports that Malaysia had excelled in, with multiple medals won at international sporting events such as the Commonwealth, Olympics, Asian and SEA Games, said Syed Saddiq.
“Sports is for all and our athletes are our heroes and heroines.
"Some athletes have personally contacted me on this issue. I’m obligated to defend them as they are the nation’s assets.
“There are countless Muslim athletes who have contributed a lot of medals for the country including Farah Ann Hadi (gymnastics), Nur Dhabitah Sabri (diving) and Sazali Samad (bodybuilder),” he said.
Syed Saddiq said professional track cyclist Azizulhasni Awang, a well-known world champion from Terengganu also achieved international recognition regardless of his choice of outfit.
On Sunday (Nov 25), Bernama reported that Terengganu Youth Development, Sports and Non-Government Development Committee chairman Wan Sukairi Wan Abdullah said the move was in line with the state government’s policy of putting Islam as the main pillar of the administration, including in sports.
He said for a start, all Muslim football players under the Terengganu State Football Association were required to wear syariah-compliant attire at any tournament, whether inside or outside the state.
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