The Paralympic Council of Malaysia (PCM) has dismissed reports that the government was unable to source for sponsors to dress its athletes in national attire for the opening of the Asian Para Games in Jakarta next month, saying it was a "non-issue from the beginning".
PCM president SM Nasaruddin SM Nasimuddin said the council had in fact secured several sponsors and that it was standard practice for the attire to be handed out to the contingent a few days prior to departing for the Games.
The opening ceremony for the Games is slated to take place at the Gelora Bung Karno Main Stadium in the Indonesian capital city on Oct 6.
A report by English daily The Star had stated that the government has no budget for the official attire for athletes to wear at the opening of the Asian Para Games in Jakarta next month and were unable to get sponsors.
A source had told the daily that the national athletes were told to wear their tracksuits during the march-past parade.
"The national attire is a non-issue from the beginning because PCM, who has been entrusted together with the relevant government agencies in preparation of the Malaysian contingent for Asian Para Games Jakarta 2018, had already begun negotiations and had in fact secured TuneTalk, Bata Malaysia and Naza Corporation Holdings as sponsors thus far.
"The source of the report has therefore misunderstood the preparatory process of getting sponsors for the national attire and in particular the timeframe leading up to the Games... the statement made by Deputy Minister of Youth and Sports, YB Steven Sim, is correct," Nasaruddin said in a statement today.
Sim had told The Star that his ministry, the National Sports Council and the PCM "unanimously agreed" that the orange tiger-striped tracksuit (photo) was the best attire for the team to wear to the opening ceremony.
He said the tracksuit design would instantly associate the athletes with Malaysia compared to batik as Indonesia, too, had batik.
Sim also clarified that the ministry did not issue the batik worn by national athletes at the recently-concluded Asian Games, hence, there was no issue of "double standard".