11 Controversial Incidents That Have Been Reported At The 2017 SEA Games
Let's hope that things get better from here.
For the first time since 2001, Malaysia has the privilege of playing host to athletes from 11 Southeast Asian countries for the 2017 SEA Games
Youth and Sports Minister Khairy Jamaluddin said himself that this year's edition is a special one as 2017 marks ASEAN's 50th anniversary and the event is a chance to showcase how ASEAN has grown as a region.
"I chose the theme 'Rising Together' because this (year) is 50 years of ASEAN and it's important that we celebrate the coming of age of a region that is more confident, has come further because we are together, because we are more integrated now ... so hopefully it is a celebration for all of us," he told Channel News Asia in June.
While the Games has been fairly smooth-sailing so far, it had some bumps along the way as several incidents in the past week have raised concerns about how the event is being managed:
1. Two Myanmar fans were violently assaulted outside the stadium after a football match
A group of men, believed to be Malaysian fans, reportedly attacked the two victims near the Bazarena parking lot, shortly after Malaysia beat Myanmar 3-1 at the Shah Alam Stadium on Monday, 21 August.
According to Shah Alam OCPD Asst Comm Shafien Mamat, the victims was sent to the Shah Alam Hospital to receive treatment after sustaining injuries to the head, face, and several parts of the body. He added that the police have launched an operation to arrest the suspects involved in the incident.
On the other hand, Myanmar media outlet Democratic Voice of Burma (DVB) reported that at least 11 Myanmar nationals, with one seriously injured, were hurt from the incident.
2. Local football supporters chanted an anthem containing the words "Singapore anjing (dog)"
Malaysians were slammed as poor hosts after football fans chanted derogatory words during a group stage football match against Singapore at the Shah Alam Stadium last Wednesday, 16 August.
Chants of "kami turun ke Shah Alam, satu jiwa sokong Malaysia, Singapore anjing dibunuh saja" (we come to Shah Alam, united in supporting Malaysia, Singapore dogs can be killed) can be heard in the viral videos of the incident on social media.
3. Hundreds of Myanmar football fans were allegedly left to watch a match from outside the stadium
During the Myanmar-Laos football match at the UiTM Stadium, hundreds of football fans with Myanmar flags had to settle with peeking from outside of the stadium to enjoy the game.
It was learned that there were a lot of empty seats during the match but no one offered the remaining fans any additional tickets for the stadium with 6,000 seating capacity.
The incident went viral as Myanmar fans turned to social media to voice out their discontent over the poor management.
"Due to poor arrangement and less ticket quotas, Myanmar Football 12th Players were not able to seat, watch, and support inside the stadium. Our Myanmar fans deserve more tickets quotas and proper facilities such as buying tickets and entering to stadium," Facebook page Myanmar Football 12th Players said in a post.
4. Myanmar criticised Malaysia for not being able to broadcast live football matches
“Malaysia can't manage live broadcasting these two games and Myanmar spectators would not have a chance for their team in these first two games."
"Host Malaysia explained that some football stadiums don't have good enough facility and capacity for video shooting and live broadcasting," read a report from The Myanmar Times.
The daily quoted a Myanmar football spectator, Aung Kyaw Kyaw, as saying, "I'm surprised to learn that Malaysia, which is much richer than Myanmar, fails to manage live coverage of some popular events and tournaments. I am asking this in behalf of all other ASEAN countries, not just for Myanmar.”
5. Two buses carrying squash players from a hotel in Putrajaya were involved in an accident
The buses were carrying Myanmar, Philippines and Thai athletes for the SEA Games squash competition from their hotel in Putrajaya to the National Squash Centre when the accident occurred on 21 August.
According to media reports, a motorcycle swerved in front of one of the buses causing it to brake abruptly, which led to the second bus to rear-end the other bus.
The squash competition was suspended temporarily until they obtained medical clearance.
It was reported that two Myanmar squash players had to pull out of the doubles competition after sustaining injuries from the accident, while six other Myanmar players and a Philippines coach also suffered minor leg injuries.
6. A senior citizen was caught stealing SEA Games merchandise
A 65-year-old man from Sabah was at the Stadium Nasional Bukit Jalil with his family when he was caught shoplifting at a store selling SEA Games merchandise.
It was reported that Attan Selamat stole eight T-shirts, valued at RM555, but his act was witnessed by a salesman who proceeded to report the matter to the shop manager. The senior citizen was arrested by the police and he pleaded guilty to committing the offence of stealing.
Attan was sentenced to a day's jail and fined RM800 by the magistrate's court yesterday, 22 August.
7. A bus driver stole a watch that belonged to a SEA Games officer
Muhammad Izwan Ayub, a bus driver for the Myanmar Women's Football Team, was caught stealing a 2016 Rio Edition Swatch watch that was left in the bus last Thursday at the Universiti Teknologi Mara (UiTM) Stadium in Shah Alam.
The watch, valued at RM600, belongs to Norzazarina Omar, who had accidentally left it in a bus used by the Malaysian Women's Football Team.
The 27-year-old pleaded guilty and was sentenced to four days' jail and fined RM2,500 by the magistrate's court on 21 August.
8. Myanmar athletes' trip back to hotel was delayed after their bus driver was arrested for theft
The Myanmar SEA Games women's football team should be on their way back to their hotel after beating Malaysia women team 5-0 last Thursday, 17 August. However, their journey was delayed for almost two hours and they waited cluelessly in their hunger and tiredness. They later find out later that their driver, Muhammad Izwan Ayub, had been arrested for stealing a watch.
The incident gained widespread attention after it went viral on social media.
"Shame on you Malaysia Olympic Committee. No driver for Myanmar women (sic) team to return to hotel after beating Malaysia women team 5-0, and departure to hotel is delayed till 23:40pm. Shame on you Malaysia."
"They tried to put in driver who is not experienced, and made everyone scared," read the post by Facebook page Myanmar Football 12th Players that also revealed that the team's departure from the hotel to the stadium was also delayed by 15 minutes.
According to media reports, Muhammad Izwan was driving without license and he is being probed by the Land Public Transport Commission (SPAD).
9. Indonesia walked out of a sepak takraw competition to protest against the referee's decision
The Indonesian women's team players and their coach Asry Syam staged a walkout half way through the second game against Malaysia to protest against Singapore referee Mohd Radhi Che Mei's decision to penalise four services by an Indonesian player.
The Indonesian team were leading 16-10 while Malaysia had won the previous set earlier, but Mohd Radhi eventually awarded the match to Malaysia with a 2-0 score.
Nevertheless, the Sepak Takraw Association of Indonesia (PSI) has admitted that it was a "big mistake" to walk out of the match and apologised for the action and inconvenience caused.
PSI deputy president H. Syafrizal Bakhtiar, who was also team manager, said that the judgment made by the referee was indeed correct after reviewing video recording and data.
"As the manager I had tried my best to defuse the situation and follow the procedures to register a protest according to the International Sepak Takraw Federation (ISTAF) procedures but the situation was beyond control and we walked out but it was big mistake," he told Bernama today, 21 August.
10. Failure to install 'video challenge' technology for sepak takraw games
The Sepak Takraw Association of Malaysia (PSM) was disappointed that plans to use a system known as "video challenge" to allow teams to challenge calls made by the umpire or referee during a bout or match did not materialise.
The system was supposed to be functional and used for the sepak takraw team which started on Friday, 18 August, however a trial run revealed that the system still had many weaknesses that could tarnish the reputation of the organisers.
It was reported that the contractor appointed by the Malaysia Organising Committee (MASOC) for Kuala Lumpur 2017 had failed to prepare the equipment based on the specification required.
11. The Indonesian flag was printed upside-down in a souvenir booklet for the SEA Games
Malaysia has come under heavy criticism for the mistake as the incident led to the hashtag #ShameOnYouMalaysia to trend on social media as netizens uncover more flag blunders made by the organising team and local media.
Khairy and Foreign Minister Datuk Seri Anifah Aman have formally apologised to Indonesia while Indonesian President Joko Widodo said that he has accepted the apology.
However, Indonesians are still not too happy as dozens of Malaysian websites were hacked and there was even a protest outside the Malaysian embassy in Jakarta as a NGO known as Laskar Merah Putih called for an end to diplomatic relations between the two nations.
Who do you think should be held responsible for these blunders and incidents during the SEA Games? Let us know your thoughts in the comment section below.