After internal meetings spanning the weekend, the International Paralympic Committee (IPC) has decided to strip Malaysia of its hosting duties for the 2019 World Para Swimming Championships. The ruling comes days after Malaysian officials announced that they would not be letting Israeli athletes compete at the event that serves as a qualifier for the 2020 Tokyo Paralympics.
Prior to the IPC’s ruling, Kuching, Sarawak, had been slated to host the July 29-Aug. 4event. The committee is now searching for a suitable substitution, ideally over the same dates, but taking into consideration they may have to be flexible on the matter.
Reuters reports that following an IPC governing board meeting, committee president Andrew Parsons said: “All world championships must be open to all eligible athletes and nations to compete safely and free from discrimination.”
“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.”
Responding to the international criticism, 25-year-old Youth and Sports Minister Syed Saddiq retorted that if hosting an international event was more important than “standing up for” the Palestinians, “that means Malaysia has truly lost its moral compass.”
Funny choice of words for the guy who let his own press officer quit with all the resistance of a wet paper bag following criticisms of his ties to the LGBTQ+ community. But we digress.
Elaborating, he cited both Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch conclusions that the Israeli government under Benjamin Netanyahu was “an active perpetrator of war crimes.”
If you’re keeping track (we are!), Amnesty International has also concluded that they are deeply-disturbed by our very own fake-news bill that passed in March of last year, one that the new government has promised to scrap, but they have since decided to keep on despite its worrying “catch-all” terms and conditions of what “fake” means.
They also didn’t take too kindly to our caning of two women last year for “attempted lesbian sex,” or the general persecution of Malaysian LGBTQ+ citizens.
Or what about when Human Rights Watch concluded that the new Malaysian government was “backtracking on human rights pledges?”
We digress again! Saddiq wants you to know:
“Malaysia stands firmly with the decision on the ground of humanity and compassion for the Palestinian plight. We will not compromise.”
We digress, AGAIN! Gosh, it’s hard showboating on this Israel issue when topics right here at home keep coming to mind.
The two countries have had no official diplomatic relations since Malaysia’s independence, despite the fact that Israel supported Malaysia’s bid for UN membership, and had previously tried to establish low-level diplomacy between the two.
Just like turning down that Tinder date you’re not really into — and that your friends don’t like — Malaysia told Israel “thanks, but no thanks.”
A temporary glastnost between the two in the early ’90s was followed by positively ice-age levels of chilly relations, with then-Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamed accusing Israeli Zionist agents of undermining Malaysia’s integrity, Islam, and also our currency.
This article, Malaysia cannot host World Para Swimming Championship after Israeli athlete ban, originally appeared on Coconuts, Asia's leading alternative media company. Want more Coconuts? Sign up for our newsletters!