LETTER | The Movement for Change, Sarawak (MoCS) wishes to appeal to the chief minister of Sarawak, Abang Johari Openg, to allow the Israeli swimmers to participate in the upcoming World Para-Swimming Championships in Kuching.
Sarawak will host the event from July 29 to August 4.
This is an international sports event and swimmers from around the world who qualified should not be barred. All should be allowed to enter Sarawak and represent their respective nations accordingly.
This is clearly a sports event and it should be seen and considered as that – purely a sports event and nothing else! We should not bring in race, religion and politics into sports.
If Putrajaya continues to insist that Israeli athletes be barred, despite the waves of protests both at home and abroad, then Sarawak could exercise its immigration autonomy and allow the Israelis in.
It has already been suggested that the athletes from Israel could enter Sarawak from other points of entry other than Kuala Lumpur.
But MoCS hopes that we do not have to go down that road.
If Putrajaya wants Sarawak to host the event, then let us decide what to do and make our own decisions, including those on diplomatic relations with other nations.
Lest we forget, Sarawak is a separate entity and not merely one of the 13 states. And remember too, Sarawak has autonomy over immigration.
Sarawakians have nothing against the Jews or Palestinians and we do not wish to involve the Middle-East conflict in this sports event.
Because Malaysia is on the side of Palestine and has no diplomatic ties with Israel, Israeli swimmers are not allowed to participate in the championships in Sarawak. What do the Palestinians and their struggle have anything to do with a swimming event, or with Sarawak for that matter?
The people of Sarawak and its leaders have proclaimed to the world that race and religion have never been an issue in our Land of the Hornbills.
Now is the time for our chief minister and all Sarawakians to put that proud declaration to the test.
We welcome the Israeli swimmers to our homeland. Putrajaya has no moral right to decide that for Sarawak.
The writer heads the Movement of Change Sarawak (MoCS).
The views expressed here are those of the author/contributor and do not necessarily represent the views of Malaysiakini.