PUTRAJAYA, Jan 28, 2019, MalayMail. Malaysia will stand by its principle in banning Israel athletes from entering the country and can afford not hosting the 2019 World Para Swimming Championships, Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad said today, reported the MalayMail.
Dr Mahathir said although the International Paralympic Committee (IPC) has stripped Malaysia of the right to host the event which was slated to be held in Sarawak in July, the country can still host other events.
“We stand by our principle, which is that Israel is a criminal nation. It has been breaking international law without anybody saying anything,” he told reporters when met after a closed-door meet with statutory bodies.
“We have a right to voice our feelings and to have our own policies.
“If we cannot host the Paralympics, we can host other events,” he added.
The prime minister then compared the situation to the United States barring citizens of Muslim countries from crossing its borders, claiming no other nations had raised the matter.
Despite his claim, the executive decision by US president Donald Trump received backlash from even within the US.
“America does not allow people from five Muslim countries to go to America. Why is it that there is no complaint? Many countries in Europe do not allow foreigners to come [as well].
“This is normal. We have a reason we have to stand on our principle,” he said but did not elaborate on Europe.
When asked on his position against Saudi Arabia which is accused of war crimes in Yemen, China for prosecuting Uighur Muslim minorities, and the plight of the Rohingyas in Myanmar, Dr Mahathir said the Malaysian government will act based on facts.
“We have commented on other countries too, but we are based on facts.
“Once we confirmed the facts, we will give our opinion,” he said.
Yesterday, the International Paralympic Committee (IPC) had stripped Malaysia of the right to host the 2019 World Para Swimming Championships after Putrajaya banned Israel’s participation in the sports event.
The IPC, which organises the Paralympic Games, pointed out that when it signed a contract with the Paralympic Council of Malaysia in September 2017 to host the World Para Swimming Championships, it was assured that all eligible athletes and countries would be allowed to participate in the event.