Syed Saddiq says Terengganu’s snub of ‘unsuitable’ sports events not cast in stone

Jerry Choong
Youth and Sports Minister Syed Saddiq Syed Abd Rahman speaks during the launch of Unlimited Moves at Spacerubix, Puchong September 5, 2019. ― Picture by Choo Choy May

PUCHONG, Sep 5 — The Youth and Sports Ministry will leave an opening for Terengganu to reconsider its decision to withdraw the state’s athletes from events deemed unsuitable with the shariah, said Syed Saddiq Abdul Rahman.

The minister noted that the National Sports Council’s (MSN) Terengganu division has been contacted by the ministry for further information but has yet to provide confirmation of the reported move.

“We holds meetings with all the state excos in charge of sports every four months. The next meeting will be coming up around next month, so it will also be discussed then,” he said after touring the Impact Malaysia-U Mobile art mural initiative at Spacerubix Puchong.

Syed Saddiq said sports should be considered as an avenue to unite Malaysians rather than to highlight differences.

He also said his ministry would strive to make sports accessible to all.

“This includes for athletes who want to wear the hijab while competing, or otherwise. My stand is to defend our athletes.

“We must ensure that no matter what, our boys and girls should always have a place in sports, as they greatly contribute to the country and should be given the proper guidance,” he said.

On Tuesday, Terengganu Youth Development, Sports and Non-Government Development Committee chairman Wan Sukairi Wan Abdullah said the state government was drafting guidelines on shariah-compliant attire and conduct for athletes.

The guidelines will cover both aspects of shariah-compliant sportswear, as well as a code of conduct for athletes and how they socialise during sporting events. Feedback is also being from various sports associations.

The chairman also explained that Terengganu will withdraw from rhythmic gymnastics and women’s gymnastics sporting events, among others, as it exposed the bodies and movements of athletes in a manner regarded as indecent for onlooking spectators.

In response MSN director-general Datuk Ahmad Shapawi Ismail said yesterday that the notion of the skills and techniques displayed in such sporting categories could ‘bring excitement to men’ is unacceptable nor should be made as the basis of policies to develop sports.

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