SPORT

Malaysia reiterates 'No Israel' policy for Paralympic

Malaysia on Monday remained defiant reiterating its stand that no person holding an Israeli passport will be allowed entry in to the country, media reports said.

The statement comes days after International Paralympic Committee (IPC) stopped Malaysia from hosting this year's world championship after it did not issue visas to athletes from Israel.

According to a local media outlet, The Star, Malaysian Youth and Sports Minister Syed Saddiq Syed Abdul Rahman told a news conference that the IPC claimed that the previous government had agreed to grant visas to para-swimmers of all nationalities -- including Israelis.

"I am a bit wary of what the IPC said. They said that in 2017, there was an understanding with the previous government that there were no pre-conditions -- in other words that Israeli athletes could enter the country. I find that strange," Saddiq said.

Malaysia was awarded the right to host the 2019 World Para Swimming Championships two years ago.

"The stand of the government today under the leadership of (Prime Minister) Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad is very clear, the pre-condition is that there can be no Israeli athletes coming into the country using an Israeli passport," Saddiq added.

The Malaysian minister said that whenever the government of Mahathir will make "a bid for any sporting event, we would make it known that Israeli athletes would not be allowed into the country".

"We have no diplomatic relations with the Israeli government. That is the stance that we take," he said.

The minister termed the decision by the previous government of allowing Israeli athletes in the country for the now-canceled championship "wrong".

The championship was scheduled to be held in Kuching, Sarawak, from July 29 to Aug. 4. A new venue would be sought for the same dates, although there may be some flexibility in the light of circumstances, the IPC said.

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