The Malaysian Gymnastics Federation (MGF) will not interfere in the Terengganu government's decision concerning the participation of the state's gymnasts in tournaments due to the dress code issue.
Pointing out that it was a long-standing issue, its president Rachel Lau said the federation has made a clear stance on the matter, describing it as "the state governance affairs".
“This (gymnast’s dress) has been debated since 2015. For us, on MGF standpoint, we look at it as every state has their own governance; we most probably would not interfere without the Youth and Sports Ministry to tackle this matter after Terengganu decided on the governance of gymnastics or non-gymnastics sports like diving,” she told reporters after the sponsorship signing ceremony between MGF and Cosway (M) Sdn Bhd in Kuala Lumpur today.
The 32-year-old former gymnast was commenting on the statement by Terengganu Youth, Sports and Non-Governmental Organisation Development Committee chairperson Wan Sukairi Wan Abdullah (above) on the state government's decision to withdraw from participating in women's gymnastics events, which he claimed were exploiting and exhibiting indecent acts.
On Tuesday, Wan Sukairi said the Terengganu government was prepared to withdraw from sports that do not adhere to syariah-compliant attire. These include gymnastics and rhythmic gymnastics for women.
Lau, however, said the federation encourages gymnasts from Terengganu who are interested to practise the sport to come down to the capital city to continue their participation in tournaments.
Recently, Youth and Sports Minister Syed Saddiq Syed Abdul Rahman and National Sports Council (MSN) director-general Ahmad Shapawi Ismail were among those who have criticised Terengganu’s move, concerning it jeopardises the future of female athletes who could potentially bring glory to the country in sports.
Meanwhile, Cosway chief executive officer Dr Alice Lee said throughout the three years of partnership with MGF, the direct-selling company would sponsor more than RM1 million in cash, uniform and sports kits to national gymnasts.
“This is the first time ever we are collaborating with a sports body in conjunction with our 40th anniversary. This is in line with our rebranding efforts to reach out to younger demographics and promote an active and healthy lifestyle,” she said.