Para swimming tourney issue: Putrajaya should compensate Sarawak — SUPP Youth

Michael Tiang

KUCHING, Jan 28: Sarawak United Peoples’ Party (SUPP) Youth today urged the Sarawak government to seek reparation from the federal government for the losses suffered after Malaysia was stripped of the right yesterday to host the World Para Swimming Championship that was to be held in Kuching from July 24 to August 4 this year.

The International Paralympic Committee (IPC)’s decision was prompted by Malaysia’s decision to ban Israeli athletes from entering Malaysia.

SUPP Youth chief Michael Tiang also called on Pakatan Harapan (PH) lawmakers in Sarawak to speak up on behalf of the state to demand their political masters in the peninsula compensate Sarawak over the incident, which has cost the state dearly in many ways.

“As Sarawakians, we all should rally our support behind our Sarawak government in this matter. We should not keep silent when Sarawak turns out to be the only party who suffered losses in the cancellation of the world event here,” he said in a statement today.

Citing media reports, Tiang said the agreement to host the swimming event was made between IPC and the Paralympic Council of Malaysia in Sept 2017, and the hosting right was with the Paralympic Council of Malaysia, not the Sarawak government.

Sarawak was merely offering the event venue in Kuching.

“After Kuching was awarded to be the event venue, the Sarawak government spent money and resources to prepare the venue. Furthermore, our domestic market was also expecting to receive about 600 swimmers from 60 countries this coming July. This would have surely brought a great economic boost to our local market as well as tourism.

“Now, due to the federal government’s refusal to issue visas to the Israelis, the hosting of the event in Kuching is called off without any assurance from the federal government as to how Sarawak can recoup all the expenses incurred thus far as well as all the related losses to the local economy,” he highlighted.

Tiang argued that Sarawak had the right to seek reparation from the federal government since the ban on the Israelis was a decision made at the federal level.

“I understand that even though Sarawak could have exercised its immigration autonomy by allowing the Israelis athletes to enter Sarawak via Singapore, as some had suggested on social media, unfortunately, Sarawak did not own any right to host the event without blessings from the Paralympic Council of Malaysia,” he lamented.

Hence, any entry permits given to the Israelis by the Sarawak government would, therefore, serve no purpose, he shared. — DayakDaily