PETALING JAYA: Putrajaya today stood firm on banning Israeli atheletes from taking part in international tournaments hosted by Malaysia, following the move by the International Paralympic Committee (IPC) to strip Malaysia of its right to host the world swimming championships this year.
“Malaysia stands firm with our decision on the grounds of humanity and compassion for the Palestinian plight. We will not compromise,” said Youth and Sports Minister Syed Saddiq Syed Abdul Rahman.
He said Malaysia still believed that it was more important to stand up to the Israeli government than host an international sporting event.
“If hosting an international sporting event is more important than standing up for our Palestinian brothers and sisters who get murdered, maimed and tortured by the Netanyahu regime, that means Malaysia has truly lost its moral compass,” he said.
At a meeting in London today, IPC announced that it would not allow Malaysia to host the 2019 World Para Swimming Championships to be held in Kuching in July.
This followed Israel’s appeal to change the venue if Malaysia refused to lift a ban on its athletes.
“When a host country excludes athletes from a particular nation, for political reasons, then we have absolutely no alternative but to look for a new championships host,” IPC president Andrew Parsons said.
Syed Saddiq said Malaysia’s action was in line with reports from global rights bodies such as Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch accusing Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu of war crimes.
As the leader of Israel, he represents the collective will of the Israeli government. The Israeli state is the locus of their collective moral actions,” he added.
Malaysia does not have diplomatic ties with Israel, although there had been reports of trade ties between both countries.
Prime Minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad is a long time critic of the Israeli occupation of Palestinian lands, and recently came under fire from Jewish lobbies over comments they said were anti-Semitic.