CYBERJAYA – Malaysia will not take any action that can worsen the situation on the Asia Cup 2019 Qualifier match between the national team and North Korea, said Youth and Sports Minister Khairy Jamaluddin.
Commenting on calls by various quarters to boycott the Group B match, he reminded that there were several Malaysians still in North Korea following Pyongyang’s decision to bar them from leaving that country.
“Whatever action we take whether in diplomacy or related to trade and sports, let’s not do anything that will further aggravate the already tense ties
between Malaysia and North Korea,” he told the media after the ‘TN50x: Dialogue with Young Entrepreneurs” programme here today.
Not wanting to disclose where he stood on the boycott calls, Khairy said such polemics would not help the situation.
The government has announced that it will not allow the national squad to go to Pyongyang to play in the qualifying match on March 28 on grounds of safety following tensions between the two countries in the aftermath of the murder of North Korean citizen Kim Chol, widely reported to be Kim Jong-nam, the half-brother of North Korean leader Kim Jong-un, at the Kuala Lumpur International Airport 2 on Feb 13.
Following that, the FA of Malaysia (FAM) asked the Asian Football Confederation to have the match played at a neutral venue.
Khairy said that he was also awaiting developments on the request.
For the record, Malaysia had boycotted the Moscow Olympics in 1980 to protest the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics’ (USSR) invasion of Afghanistan.
On another matter, Khairy said he was amazed by the ability of national sprinter Zaidatul Husniah Zulkifli, who broke the national record in the women’s 100m sprint with a time of 11.45s at the ASA Speed Series 2 Championship in, Bloemfontein, South Africa early today.
He said the success, which ended G. Shanti’s 24-year old record of 11.50s, was a good sign of better things to come when Kuala Lumpur hosts the SEA Games this September.- BERNAMA