AUGUST 23 ― The Southeast Asian (SEA) Games are meant to foster goodwill among all our regional neighbours, and a unifier of the melting pot of our unique cultures and heritage that make up Asean. The SEA Games’ motto of “Rising Together” alongside with the performance themed “Similarity in Diversity” presented at the opening ceremony, signify that sports is apolitical and Asean keeps to the adage of “prosper thy neighbour.” Meanwhile, we also recognise that one’s loyalty and patriotism to one’s country will come up foremost in any sports competition.
The misprint over the Indonesian flag has already elicited apologies by our Malaysian Youth and Sports Minister, as well as our Foreign Minister duly accepted by their Indonesian counterparts. Likewise, Indonesian President HE Joko Widodo has also accepted Malaysia’s apology, reminding his citizens not to blow the issue out of proposition. Unfortunately, Indonesian hacker group ExtremeCrew has been reported to have defaced 27 Malaysian websites with the words “Bendera Negaraku Bukanlah Mainan” in an apparent response to the blunder in the official souvenir booklet. This retaliatory action by hackers must be condemned but Malaysians must also bear in mind, it is not reflective of the Indonesian government’s stand.
On the homefront, we urge the Football Association of Malaysia and the Olympic Council of Malaysia to send out reminders to football fans to be perfect hosts to our visitors. Welcome them, not make their stay here unpleasant, and then later sending Malaysia to the world news for all the wrong reasons again.
The “Singapore anjing” jeers and taunts by Malaysian football spectators against the Singaporean team is totally un-Malaysian, and reflects one’s immaturity and lack of upbringing. Such collective bullying runs counter the spirit and values of the 11-nation games, what more, as Malaysia gears to celebrate 60 years of Negaraku, and more so, when both the Prime Ministers of Malaysia and Singapore are taking the efforts to further mount friendship and ties between both our nations as opposed to the testy relationship under the Mahathir era.
Simultaneously, we urge the Malaysian police to search and apprehend the unknown culprits responsible for manhandling 2 Myanmarese supporters who were allegedly punched and kicked after the football match between Malaysia and Myanmar. Health authorities must also render the best healthcare to the duo.
We should acknowledge that legal migrant workers to Malaysia also to contribute towards the economic development of our country, although the jobs they perform are viewed as menial and labourious.
Kudos to the fans from Singapore and Myanmar who have demonstrated restraint. Malaysians must act with restraint too. Show your support by waving the Jalur Gemilang. Show our international guests the beauty of Malaysia by being hospitable and gracious hosts. Keep all taunts and derogatory references against Malaysia’s opponents to yourself.
Malaysians must ask themselves, if they were visitors or tourists to Singapore, Indonesia and Myanmar, would you also like to receive similar hostile reception, intimidation and even physical assaults? As it is, the websites of Malaysian companies have been hacked already.
*Datuk Chai Kim Sen is the MCA Publicity Bureau Chairman Senator.
** This is the personal opinion of the writer or publication and does not necessarily represent the views of Malay Mail Online.