Are we just a ‘chin-chai’ country?

By TK Chua

It is not as if we organise international triathlons every week or month. But in one event in Port Dickson, two participants drowned.

Some would argue that this was an unfortunate accident. But is the issue as simple as that? What is the point of the youth and sports minister calling for an investigation now when two people are already dead? Mandatory precautions should be taken before a competition, not after a tragedy.

Are there rules and by-laws governing competitions of this nature? Who are the enforcers of these rules and regulations? Who was the organiser? Did they comply with all the rules and regulations?

On the day of competition, did they station personnel to watch out for participants in distress? Did they have rescue personnel on standby to render help in case of an emergency or sudden change of weather or sea conditions?

To me, it is ridiculous for Malaysia to organise an international event if we do not take appropriate and sufficient steps to ensure safety.

It is precarious for competitors to be lured into taking unwarranted risks. It is bad for tourism and the reputation of Malaysia.

It is time for us to be professional in whatever we do. We can’t be a “chin-chai” country when it comes to international safety standards. Event organisers must comply with all rules and regulations. The regulators and enforcers must keep watch on organisers.

When we organise an international event, it is reasonable for participants to expect that we will adhere to all safety standards.

It is useless to make a hue and cry after the tragedy. It is too late to ask for an investigation and a post-mortem. Frankly, no investigation will help us avoid future tragedies if we are not professional in our work to begin with.

When tragedies like this happen so casually, it reinforces Malaysia’s image as a lackadaisical third-world country.

TK Chua is an FMT reader.

The views expressed are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of FMT.