Dress code speaks volumes about T’ganu

PETALING JAYA: The rights and opportunities of female athletes to participate in sports should not be curtailed by forcing syariah-compliant dress codes on them, said Wanita MCA chairman Datuk Heng Seai Kie (pic).

“If these dress codes are enforced, Terengganu can be considered to have automatically disqualified itself from hosting any international tournament because no foreign national sports bodies will deliberately tailor sports outfits to suit the state’s religious-based compliance while contravening the requirements of the sports’ governing bodies.

“Terengganu would have blown its chances of carving a name for itself as a competitive sports destination. The development of sports in this east coast state, especially for female athletes, has been stifled, ” said Heng in a statement yesterday.

Inconvenienced by such dress code requirements, Terengganu athletes, she said, might be forced to travel to another state – or even worse, another country – to train and represent the adopted state or country.

“Terengganu may lose upcoming athletes and possible Olympians.

“What others sports are in the list of indecent attire and movement? Synchronised swimming? Weight-lifting? Water polo? Beach volleyball? How is indecent movements in sports defined?

“Responsible and decent-minded people (and) sports fans know wiser to concentrate on the agility, speed and discipline of the athletes than to have a prurient mind ogling at women in leotards, ” said Heng.

She also urged Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Dr Wan Azizah Wan Ismail, who is also the Women, Family and Community Development Minister, as well as her deputy Hannah Yeoh to admonish religion-based compliant dress code in sports.

Sisters in Islam executive director Rozana Isa said such restricting guidelines to curb “indecency” spoke volumes about what some men saw when they looked at the sport.

“Unilaterally deciding to place restrictions on sports such as gymnastics merely on the grounds that the attire and movements are ‘indecent’ speaks volumes about what these men see when they look at the sport.

“This sort of thinking is both immoral and unIslamic. It also undermines the work that has been put in by the athletes for years to develop their skills to execute the sport.

“The guidelines on syariah-compliant attire and behaviour in the state further beg the question if this is applicable to non-Muslim athletes and audiences as well.

“We should be teaching our society to appreciate the potential of human abilities, the merits of hard work and virtues such as perseverance and teamwork.

“Reducing the participation of women in sports to merely their attire and accusing their performance as ‘indecent’ send the wrong message to girls who aspire to pursue sports, and to audiences who watch sports.”

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