Masing: Support, not Datukship more important for Pandelela

James-MasingPETALING JAYA: It is more important for the Sarawak government to support national diver, Pandelela Rinong’s development, rather than conferring her with a Datukship, says Sarawak Deputy Chief Minister James Masing.

Masing said the state government must play a more important role in supporting Pandelela’s training and participation in international competitions, The Borneo Post Online reported.

The Parti Rakyat Sarawak (PRS) President said more funds should be allocated to ensure Pandelela had the best training facilities, coaches and also education.

On Wednesday, Pandelela, popularly known as Malaysia’s diving queen, won silver in the 10m synchronised diving at the Rio Olympics, alongside diving partner Cheong Jun Hoong from Perak.

This had led to calls from local leaders for the state government to bestow Pandelela with a Datukship.

Meanwhile in Sri Aman, another Deputy Chief Minister, Douglas Uggah Embas called on Sarawakians to pray for Pandelela as she prepares for her final event, the 10m individual platform at the Olympics.

“Our prayers and support can help to lift her spirits to achieve the impossible, but Pandelela’s success is mainly down to her and her parents’ hard work and sacrifices,” Uggah was quoted as saying by the Sarawak-based daily.

Pandelela, 23, a Bidayuh, became the first Malaysian woman to win an Olympic medal when she took home the bronze in the 10m platform individual event at the 2012 London Olympics.