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KUCHING, May 9: World diving champion Pandelela Rinong deserves the recognition and awards for her contribution to Sarawak in the field of sports, opined Parti Bumi Kenyalang (PBK) potential candidate for N17 Stakan, Atet Dego.
Atet, in a press statement today, said Minister of Tourism, Arts, Culture, Youth and Sports Datuk Abdul Karim Hamzah has kicked up a controversy on what is the right age to reward Pandelela.
“In fact, on top of the Datukship, she should be given a monetary award as well. It is not about her age or frequency but more on her contribution to Sarawak and Malaysia’s pride and as encouragement for future aspiring athletes to take up sports as a career.
“She deserves every recognition and awards which should commensurate with her contribution to Sarawak in the field of sports,” he said.
Atet pointed out that throughout the world, countries give out awards to people who excel in sports, whether in the form of cash, in kinds, titles, other forms of award and irrespective of age is the norm in the sporting world.
He said both national badminton player Datuk Lee Chong Wei and national squash player Datuk Nicol David retired at the age of 36 in 2019, and they were both awarded the Datukship at the age of 25 in 2008.
“Datuk Nicol David was awarded with the Order of Merit (Darjah Bakti) in 2008 as an acknowledgment of her achievements in sport, and in 2019, Datuk Lee Chong Wei was given the same award.
“So, for Datuk Karim Hamzah to say it is too young to award the Datukship to Pandelela Rinong at the age of 28 years is not a valid reason,” he added. — DayakDaily