Abdul Karim’s Remark On Pandelela Is Unbecoming And Hurts The Feeling Of Sarawakians.


Press Statement By Abdul Aziz:

I would like to respond to the latest statement posted by Sarawak Minister of Youth and Sports Datuk Abdul Karim Rahman Hamzah in his personal Facebook account dated on 7 May 2021 https://www.facebook.com/601893756608637/posts/2403056409825687/?d=n. He wrote the statement in respond to our national diver Pandelela Rinong’s latest achievement on winning Malaysia’s first-ever gold medal in the women’s 10m platform at the Fina Diving World Cup on 5 May 2021.

Karim stated that “adalah tidak baik untuk selalu memberi ganjaran kepada atlet setiap kali mereka memenangi sesuatu” (literally in English means it is not good to always give rewards to athletes every time they win something). He went on to say that “Maksud saya ialah bolehkah kita bayangkan seseorang yang baharu berusia 20an dan sudah mendapat gelaran “Datuk”? (I mean can we imagine someone who is just in his 20s and has already earned the title “Datuk”?). My question is that, is it wrong to keep on rewarding our athletes for making tremendous achievement for our country? Is it wrong for someone in their 20s like Pandelela Rinong to be given a “Datuk” title?

We have seen some prominent figures in this country who received “Datuk” titles in their 20s but not all of them making this country proud. Some of them even charged for involving in organised crime, fraudulent, dodgy companies etc. Some of their achievements were unknown to the public but there were given the “Datuk” titles for unknown reasons. Even our Federal Minister for Women, Family and Community Development Datuk Seri Rina Harun once said that “such titles are not stumbling blocks that prevent us from serving the people” https://www.google.com.my/amp/s/www.nst.com.my/amp/news/nation/2018/10/421525/rina-harun-defends-practice-receiving-titles-honours. So, there’s nothing wrong to bestow “Datuk” title to Pandelela Rinong

The vexing issue here is not about whether Pandelela Rinong should be award with “Datuk” title of not. It’s about Karim’s statement. If the state has no plan to bestow Pandelela Rinong with “Datuk” title, so be it but is the statement even necessary at the first place? Karim’s statement which was posted somewhere around 11:30 am have received brickbats by the vast majority of the public. I would like to say that such statement is unbecoming and a huge embarrassment for Sarawakian judging from his position as the state Minister of Youth and Sports. How can a state Minister of Youth and Sports have a thought of coming out with such a statement?

Instead of touching on the issue of whether Pandelela Rinong should be given award of not, Karim should focus on how the state government can improve our water sports activities so that we can produce more young athletes like Pandelela Rinong. As a state minister, Karim should come out with more positives statement. At least upon knowing of Pandelela’s latest achievement, the state government trying to come out with some ideas such as:

  1. To encourage more young Sarawakians participate in water sports activities
  2. To organize more water sports competitions to produce more water sports athletes
  3. To improve water the water sports facilities throughout every divisions in the states
  4. To create state-owned water sports academy and make water sports as a profession

Would it be nice if Karim ever thought of giving such positive statement instead of the one that incline to be very negative and discouraging? I would like to advice Karim to improve his public relation in the future and stop giving negative statements as it does not do good for our sports industry.

Abdul Aziz Isa
Special Assistant to YB Chong Chieng Jen
DAP Batu Kitang Chairman
DAP Socialist Youth (“DAPSY”) Stampin Chief