Malaysian male duo’s cycling victory in Japan marred by Twitter concern over skimpy shorts

Youth and Sports Minister Khairy Jamaluddin snapped a screenshot of the reply and reposted it on his Twitter page.
Youth and Sports Minister Khairy Jamaluddin snapped a screenshot of the reply and reposted it on his Twitter page.

KUALA LUMPUR, Nov 2 — Malaysia’s victory at the Japan Para Cycling Cup 2015 has earned unwanted attention for local cyclists Muhammad Afiq Afify and Mohamad Hafiz Mohamed Sufian whose attires were criticised on Twitter today for inadequately covering their “aurat”.

The duo’s purportedly skimpy bicycle shorts first sparked a debate on the microblogging site when mobile prepaid service provider Tune Talk first posted a congratulatory message to the duo, along with a photograph of them posing with their medals in matching skintight yellow-and-black outfits.

“Tahniah Hafiz Sufian & Muhammad Afiq yg memenangi pingat emas utk Malaysia di Japan Para Cycling Cup 2015! #MISIM,” @TuneTalk wrote in its message.

[Translation: Congratulations Hafiz Sufian and Muhammad Afiq for winning the gold medal for Malaysia at the Japan Para Cycling Cup 2015]

Twitter user Adi Johari, writing under the Twitter handle @omgbbqsauce, then responded to the message with a post saying, “tapi sayang tak tutp aurat.

[Translation: But it’s a shame they did not cover their ‘aurat’]

The term aurat refers to parts of a Muslim’s body that must be clothed.

Adi Johari’s comment did not go unnoticed.

Youth and Sports Minister Khairy Jamaluddin snapped a screenshot of the reply and reposted it on his Twitter page, along with the comment, “They won for Malaysia and the focus is on, 3, 2, 1...”

Other Twitter users immediately chimed in with comments of their own, with some taking Adi Johari’s side in the matter while others chastised him and pointed out that such attire was necessary for cyclists to be more aerodynamic.

“@Khairykj generally speaking yb, if we can find a way for islamic ethics to be applied in medicine, why not in sports?” user ‏@JimMeNee asked.

“@Khairykj YB he was being sarcastic. Sorry if you took it the wrong way,” another user ‏@mayazhrdn_ wrote.

User @SanjivT, however, appeared to disagree and expressed “pity” for the two cyclists whose victories he said were overshadowed by a trivial matter.

“@Khairykj omg.... Pity the boys. Make our nation proud and the backlash is on something stupid..” he wrote.

Another user @nftmhrhmn echoed the same, saying, “@Khairykj alahaiii. Cuba fhm attire utk sukan berbasikal. Haihh. Da ckp bagus mereka bawa nama negara.”

Apparently concerned with the attention, Tune Talk attempted later to end the argument with another post on its Twitter page.

“Kami hanya ucapkan tahniah bukan cari kekurangan orang. Korang jangan gaduh please #KitaGeng,” it wrote, adding a smiley to the post.

[Translation: We were just congratulating them, not looking for their flaws. You guys please don’t fight. We are one gang]

This is not the first time the sports attire of a local athlete is being criticised for being too skimpy.

Earlier this year in June, gymnast Farah Ann Abdul Hadi was slammed online for showing her “aurat” and the “shape of her vagina” in the leotard she wore while winning the gold medal at the recent SEA Games.

Both Muslim women and men are prohibited in Islam from exposing their aurat, though criticisms are more often targeted against women.

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