Malaysia's Deputy Minister of Youth and Sports Steven Sim and Palestinian Cultural Organisation Malaysia chairman Muslim Imran at the former's office in Putrajaya on Tuesday (29 Jan).

Palestinian Struggle “a humanitarian struggle for justice and freedom” which “all Malaysians regardless of their background should support”: Deputy Youth and Sports Minister Steven Sim

The Palestinian Struggle is a humanitarian struggle for justice and freedom which all Malaysians regardless of their background should support, said Malaysia’s Deputy Youth and Sports Minister Steven Sim.

Speaking in a meeting with the Palestinian Cultural Organization Malaysia (PCOM) in Putrajaya on Tuesday (29 Jan), Mr Sim added that greater communication between the peoples and institutions of both Malaysia and Palestine should be cultivated for the benefit of the peoples of both nations.

The purpose of the meeting was to extend PCOM’s appreciation to the Malaysian Government for the nation’s “strong pro-Palestine stand”, as observed in banning Israeli athletes from entering the city of Kuching in Sarawak for the 2019 World Para Swimming Championships in Kuching.

Malaysia has since been stripped of the right to host the swimming championships by the International Paralympic Committee.

Previously on 17 Jan, Foreign Minister Saifuddin Abdullah had stressed, in addition to the ban on entry, that Malaysia will not host any programme that will involve Israeli participation.

Datuk Saifuddin made the announcement in a speech after receiving a joint memorandum from 43 NGOs in support of the Malaysian government’s decision to ban Israeli athletes from entering the country for the World Para Swimming Championships this year, in tandem with Malaysia’s stance of not having any diplomatic relations with Israel as a protest against Israel’s policies against Palestinians in Gaza and the West Bank.

“In regards to the cabinet’s decision made two weeks ago, I can say it is the most firm (regarding Malaysia-Israel ties),” he said.

Malaysia has no diplomatic ties with Israel as a means of protesting the brutality and discriminatory practices committed by the Israel Defense Forces and the Israeli government against the people of Palestine in Gaza and the West Bank.