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Malaysia stands by Israeli athletes ban despite Paralympic uproar

Malaysia banned on Israelis from all events held in the Southeast Asian nation [Getty]

Date of publication: 28 January, 2019

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Sports minister Syed Saddiq has said that Malaysia will not compromise on its ban on Israelis 'on the grounds of humanity and compassion for the Palestinian plight'.


Malaysia's government has remained defiant after losing rights to host the World Para Swimming Championships over its refusal to allow Israeli athletes to attend the event.

The qualifying competition for the 2020 Tokyo Paralympics was due to be held in the eastern Malaysian state of Sarawak in July.

Malaysian Sports Minister Syed Saddiq Syed Abdul Rahman said that Kuala Lumpur will not compromise on its decision "on the grounds of humanity and compassion for the Palestinian plight".

Earlier this month, Malaysia's cabinet decided on a ban on Israelis from attending all future events in the country.

Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad likened the ban to US President Donald Trump's planned border wall with Mexico.

"Every country has the right to accept or refuse entry of anybody," Mahathir told a press conference in Vienna on last week.

"You can see that in America now they are erecting a very high wall to prevent Mexicans from going to America... We have the same idea, that people who are undesirable for our country will be kept out of our country," he added.

The ban prompted the International Paralympic Committee on Sunday to withdraw Malaysia's hosting rights.

"Malaysia failed to provide the necessary guarantees that Israeli Para swimmers could participate, free from discrimination," the IPC said in a statement.

"This includes full compliance with the IPC protocols related to anthems and flags, and where required the provision of relevant visas," it added.

Malaysia, a Muslim-majority country with no formal diplomatic ties with Israel, has stopped Israeli athletes from competing in a sports event before.

Two Israeli windsurfers had to pull out of a competition on Langkawi island after they were refused visas in 2015.

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