You can read 9 more articles this month
MALAYSIA Foreign Minister Saifuddin Abdullah said today that the government will not budge over a ban on Israeli athletes in a para swimming competition and has decided that the country will not host any events in the future involving Israel.
Malaysia, a strong supporter of the Palestinian cause, is among the predominantly Muslim countries that does not have diplomatic relations with Israel. The government has said Israeli swimmers cannot join the competition in eastern Sarawak state in July, which serves as a qualifying event for the 2020 Tokyo Paralympics.
The foreign minister said the Cabinet affirmed last week that no Israeli delegates can enter Malaysia for sporting or other events in solidarity with the Palestinians.
"The Cabinet has also decided that Malaysia will not host any more events involving Israel or its representatives. This is to me, a decision to reflect the government's firm stance over the Israeli issue," Saifuddin said after meeting a coalition of Muslim groups.
The groups submitted a memorandum urging the government to stick to the ban and not to repeat past instances of allowing Israel delegates into the country.
Saifuddin said the Palestinian cause was not just a religious issue but also one of human rights.
“It's about fighting on behalf of the oppressed,” he said.
Israel’s Paralympic Committee said later today that together with the International Paralympic Committee, it hopes “to find the right solution before July.”
“We believe that any additional statements at this stage may only be harmful,” Leah Schneider, an official representing the committee, said in an email.
Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad has said the International Paralympic Committee can withdraw Malaysia’s right to host the July 29-August 4 championship involving athletes from some 70 countries if it wishes to do so. The committee has said it was disappointed with the prime minister's comments but hopes to find a solution to the issue.
This isn't the first time Malaysia has stopped Israeli athletes from competing in a sporting event. In 2015, two Israeli windsurfers had to withdraw from a competition on the resort island of Langkawi after they were refused visas to enter. The following year, Malaysia decided not to host a 2017 conference of the world football governing body Fifa because an Israeli delegation was scheduled to participate.
But, earlier this year, the government allowed a high-level Israeli delegation to attend a UN conference in Kuala Lumpur, sparking widespread anger among Muslim groups.
Some 60 per cent of Malaysia's 32 million people are ethnic Malay Muslims. Many have taken to the streets in the past to support the Palestinian cause.
You can’t buy a revolution, but you can help the only daily paper in Britain that’s fighting for one by joining the 501 club.
Just £5 a month gives you the opportunity to win one of 17 prizes, from £25 to the £501 jackpot.
By becoming a 501 Club member you are helping the Morning Star cover its printing, distribution and staff costs — help keep our paper thriving by joining!
You can’t buy a revolution, but you can help the only daily paper in Britain that’s fighting for one by become a member of the People’s Printing Press Society.
The Morning Star is a readers’ co-operative, which means you can become an owner of the paper too by buying shares in the society.
Shares are £1 each — though unlike capitalist firms, each shareholder has an equal say. Money from shares contributes directly to keep our paper thriving.
Some union branches have taken out shares of over £500 and individuals over £100.
You can’t buy a revolution, but you can help the only daily paper in Britain that’s fighting for one by donating to the Fighting Fund.
The Morning Star is unique, as a lone socialist voice in a sea of corporate media. We offer a platform for those who would otherwise never be listened to, coverage of stories that would otherwise be buried.
The rich don’t like us, and they don’t advertise with us, so we rely on you, our readers and friends. With a regular donation to our monthly Fighting Fund, we can continue to thumb our noses at the fat cats and tell truth to power.
Donate today and make a regular contribution.