Athletes don't have to obey Jakim guidelines, says Khairy

Youth and Sports Minister Khairy Jamaluddin.
PHOTO: Photo: The Star/ANN

The furore over national gymnast Farah Ann Abdul Hadi's attire at the Singapore SEA Games rages on with Youth and Sports Minister Khairy Jamaluddin telling athletes they do not have to abide by any dress code drawn up by the Malaysian Islamic Development Department (Jakim).

On Monday, Minister in the Prime Minister's Department Datuk Seri Jamil Khir Baharom had said that sports attire would be reviewed.

Jamil, who is in charge of Islamic Affairs, said Jakim would review clothing guidelines for athletes to be more syariah-compliant.

Khairy said Jakim's guidelines "was just a guideline and there's no compulsion to it".

"It's up to the athletes to follow the guidelines and there's no compulsion to cover up... I hope this settles it.

"We have to remember some sports attires are regulated by the sports federations ... besides, the athletes only wear the attire during competitions, they don't wear it every day," said Khairy yesterday.

He also slammed the critics as hypocrites and said the issue smacked of sexism.

Artistic gymnast Farah made the country proud by winning two gold medals, a silver and three bronzes in the biennial Games, but received flak from some for "exposing her body".

"Farah is an adult and has been brought up well. She knows what she's doing and old enough to decide for herself," Khairy said.

"Male athletes don't get this kind of attention, body-builders wear much more revealing trunks.

"The critics can look elsewhere ... or, if they cannot contain themselves, we will have to ban them from entering stadiums."