National Hockey Player Hanis Onn Suspended Over Her Racial Slur Against M'sian Indians

The Youth and Sports Ministry said that the Malaysian Hockey Confederation will re-evaluate the decision if Hanis Onn displays a positive change of attitude throughout the period of the indefinite suspension, which includes the 2023 SEA Games.

Cover image via Team Malaysia (Facebook)

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26-year-old national women's field hockey player Hanis Nadiah Onn has been indefinitely suspended from representing the country

In a statement today, 9 February, the Youth and Sports Ministry said that the National Sports Council (MSN) and the Malaysian Hockey Confederation (MHC) have decided that the Johor-born hockey player was not fit to represent Malaysia in international competitions, including the 2023 SEA Games, set to take place in Cambodia in May, due to her racist slur against Malaysian Indians last month.

In a comment on Instagram about Indian artiste A R Rahman's concert on 28 January, Hanis implied that the Bukit Jalil stadium would have been really "smelly" due to the thousands of Malaysian Indians there.

According to a screenshot posted to the Malaysian subreddit group, r/Malaysia, she commented under Kosmo's post, saying, "Bau best lah kat dalam tuh (using a face with tears of joy emoji)".

Translated in English, her comment reads, "The smell there must have been best lah".

For context, one of the racial stereotypes for Indians in Malaysia is that they are "smelly".

According to the ministry, the decision was taken following recommendations of a disciplinary inquiry committee that was jointly chaired by MHC and MSN director-general Datuk Ahmad Shapawi Ismail.

"The inquiry committee has come to a conclusion that MHC must not consider Hanis for any international assignments including the Cambodia SEA Games," read the ministry's statement.

A collage of A R Rahman performing at the Bukit Jalil National Stadium and a file photo of Hanis Nadiah Onn.

Image via Aizuddin Saad/New Straits Times & @hokitamy (Instagram)

The ministry added that the confederation will re-evaluate the decision if Hanis displays a positive change of attitude throughout the period

"The committee hopes that this action will serve as a reminder and lesson to Hanis and other national athletes to always be careful with their social media postings," the statement said, adding that the Youth and Sports Ministry does not condone any racial comments made by national athletes.

During the internal investigation, the committee interviewed national women's hockey team coach Mohd Nasihin Nubli Ibrahim and Hanis

Hanis admitted to making the comment on her social media and expressed regret, the ministry said.

"Hanis said she had no racist intentions when posting the comment, which she described as a 'joke' and referenced to the stadium being filled with tens of thousands of spectators. She only realised that there were racist elements after it sparked outrage among netizens," added the ministry in the statement.

While coach Mohd Nasihin attested to Hanis' humble and disciplined conduct during practice sessions and tournaments, the committee concluded that Hanis was guilty of making the racist slur.

According to the findings, the comment was directed at a concert mostly attended by Indians.

"As a national hockey player, Hanis was found guilty of issuing a comment that tarnished the image of the team and the MHC, which goes against the confederation's ethics."

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