KUALA LUMPUR, Dec 30 — The Olympic Council of Malaysia (OCM) will engage with the Youth and Sports Ministry (KBS) to help raise the issue of Israeli athletes’ participation in Malaysia to the Cabinet soon.
Its president Tan Sri Mohamad Norza Zakaria said Malaysia needs to get a definitive decision on the issue or else things will get even more severe in terms of hosting international sports events in the future.
“We will engage with the ministry to bring this up with the government for the best way forward because if we want to continue hosting international tournaments, these are the issues that basically would crop up.”
“We take this issue seriously and will also tell the government to look at this immediately because the world sporting fraternity is actually waiting for some feedback from us,” he told a press conference here.
In fact, Mohamad Norza said he had met representatives from the International Olympic Committee (IOC) in Dubai, United Arab Emirates to discuss the matter recently.
Last Tuesday, a foreign news portal reported that the IOC had issued another warning to countries that refuse to allow athletes from certain nations to participate in major events for political reasons.
IOC cited the cancellation of the World Team Squash Championship, which was supposed to be held from Dec 7-11, here, over Malaysia’s refusal to allow Israeli athletes into the country, as well as the AIBA World Boxing Championship which saw Kosovo’s boxing team disallowed to compete in Serbia.
Mohamad Norza, who is also Badminton Association of Malaysia (BAM) president, also gave assurance that OCM would continuously liaise with all stakeholders to ensure that they presented the right explanation in relation to the issue.
“For instance, about the squash tournament, we had given our explanation and went right up until the World Squash Federation. However, we at OCM think that the government needs to make a final decision on this. I think there shouldn’t be too much politics in sports,” he added.
Meanwhile, National Sports Council (NSC) director-general Datuk Ahmad Shapawi Ismail believed that the government would take note of the matter including holding discussions with the relevant parties and agencies soon to help them in taking the next course of action over the issue.