MALAYSIANS URGED TO WIN HEARTS
Tunku Imran wants athletes and guests from Asean region to be treated with dignity
JUGJET SINGH jug email@example.com
MALAYSIANS must embrace the Asean family with grace and dignity during the Sea Games, and not make the rivals feel unwelcome, said Olympic Council of Malaysia (OCM) president Tunku Imran Tuanku Ja’afar.
Tomorrow, the Games will unofficially begin at the football and netball venues. Many athletes and officials from neighbouring countries have already arrived.
“There is bound to be problems in such a mammoth event but I would like to see the athletes and officials as well as fans from the Asean region treated with dignity.
“We need to make them feel at home so that they return with good memories of the Games. Let’s not turn small problems into mountains and then harp on it,” said Tunku Imran.
He reminded fans at the swimming venue not to jeer Singapore’s Olympic champion Joseph Schooling for his remark which was misconstrued.
“I had the opportunity to be on the same aeroplane with Schooling recently and we had a good chat. To me, he has a very nice personality and is a gentle chap.
“What he actually meant was that since the Sea Games is at their backyard (of the neighbour) it will be a good time to teach the young Singapore swimming team a thing or two.
“But it was taken out of context, and netizens said all kinds of things on social media,” said Tunku Imran.
Schooling, who upset American legend Michael Phelps in the men’s 100m butterfly in the Rio Olympics last year told Channel News Asia recently: “We have a chance to do something special at the Sea Games. The 2015 (Sea Games) was something special for us. I think it will be nice to go to Malaysia’s backyard and teach them a thing or two.”
Tunku Imran said the “them” in the sentence referred to Schooling’s young teammates, and not Malaysian swimmers.
The OCM will be monitoring the Games, and to deal with problems, they have set up a control and crisis room, said secretarygeneral Datuk Low Beng Choo.
“Tunku Imran and I will personally man the crisis and control room with others to make sure the Games run in a smooth and friendly manner,” said Beng Choo.
Tunku Imran Tuanku Ja’afar