Hein Htet Aung, who plays as a winger for Selangor Second Squad (Selangor II) in Malaysia Premier League (M-League), was suspended from a game for displaying a "political" symbol during a match
In a statement on Friday, 26 March, the Football Association of Malaysia (FAM) said that its Disciplinary Committee found the 19-year-old player's actions were "unsportsmanlike".
According to FAM, he violated Article 59 of the FAM Disciplinary Code (2015 edition) during the 6 March match between Selangor II and PDRM FC at the Kuala Lumpur Football Stadium in Cheras.
Article 59 of the FAM Disciplinary Code (2015 edition) broadly defines using "offensive gestures or language" to insult someone in any way or "unsporting behaviour" in any other way as subject to sanctions.
He will now have to sit out Selangor II's M-League game against Perak FC II on 2 April.
FAM said that that the player was issued with a stern warning and a heavier punishment will be meted out should he repeat his offence
Hein Htet Aung, who is a Myanmar national, had used the three-fingered salute, a symbol that has been adopted by people to show their resistance against authoritarian regimes in Southeast Asia.
The symbol has become a prominent feature among people protesting the military coup in Myanmar.
A photo of Hein Htet Aung displaying the three-fingered salute was uploaded on the official Twitter account of Selangor II following the match. However, the tweet carrying the photo has since been deleted.
Selangor II took down the viral tweet after it was reportedly asked to provide an explanation with regards to the player after he celebrated his goal against the PDRM FC with the three-fingered salute.
Hein Htet Aung's suspension has prompted support from activists involved in a cross-border youth movement called Milk Tea Alliance
On Twitter, the Malaysian arm of the alliance expressed disappointment over the punishment, saying the Myanmar national who plays for our state team "can't even show his condemnation" for the Tatmadaw.
Meanwhile, a journalist in Myanmar tweeted a statement from Hein Htet Aung saying that he "received the penalty due to football's code of conduct. But I did it as it is with humanity ethics".
Meanwhile, a British-Malaysian living in the UK has designed the official mascot for the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games: