KUCHING, May 8: Sarawak diving queen Pandelela Rinong definitely deserves a Datukship because she isn’t just a “jaguh kampung, jaguh negeri or jaguh negara, but she is jaguh dunia” (village champion, state champion or national champion, but she is world champion), opines Parti Bumi Kenyalang (PBK) potential candidate for N1 Opar, Freedy Misid.
Freedy dismissed Minister of Tourism, Arts and Culture Datuk Abdul Karim Rahman Hamzah’s views that a Datukship will spoil Pandelela’s performance or hinder her social interactions as she is just 28-years-old.
“Rewards should be given based on merit, not age. This is what we call meritocracy. Reward those who deserve it.
“Datuk Nicol David received her Datukship at the age of 24, whereas Datuk Lee Chong Wei was 25 years old when he received his first Datukship. We never saw the title spoiling either one but rather, their continued strong performance and more awards being won. Datuk Abdul Karim’s statement is baseless and irrelevant,” he pointed out in a statement today.
As a two-time Olympic Medallist and first-time-ever Malaysia’s gold medal winner in the FINA Diving World Cup, Freedy said there is no doubt about Pandelela’s world-class achievements which Malaysians are surely proud of.
“Many people, especially, the Bidayuh community, feel hurt over Datuk Abdul Karim’s statement, as can be seen on social media.
“Pandelela is the first Bidayuh and Sarawakian girl to have won many prestigious awards in sports in the international arena. We, in the Bidayuh community, are proud of her achievements. For Datuk Abdul Karim to say that Pandelela will be a spoilt girl if given a Datukship is an insult to the intelligence of a Bidayuh girl and the Bidayuh community,” he added.
Furthermore, Freedy stressed that a proper state recognition could potentially boost Pandelela’s sponsorship which is crucial to allow her to go further in training and in turn greater achievements.
“While Pandelela is still actively competing, it is good to reward her with the Datukship as it can increase her potential sponsorships, which in turn will enable her to go for more training.
“To continue being a world-class athlete, she needs a sufficient amount of sponsorship because the government will not cover the expenses 100 per cent. Datuk Abdul Karim should know the problems we face when it comes to funding world-class athletes,” he pointed out.
On the status becoming potential barriers to social interaction, he said that it was illogical as Pandelela has shown her professionalism and maturity when dealing with the public.
“The title will not change her attitude but instead boost her morale and desire,” he added.
Freedy also questioned if Abdul Karim had spoken to Pandelela herself or her parents before making such a statement as it could be hurtful to them.
“How would Pandelela and her family feel? Understanding their struggle deeply and talking to them and their family members will ensure Datuk Abdul Karim knows how to help them with their problems. We should encourage our athletes rather than discourage them,” he said.
Even though the state will provide other types of reward to recognise Pandelela’s achievement, Freedy added that Abdul Karim should apologise and take a second look at the matter. — DayakDaily