Sarawak minister: Many are angry with me over Pandalela ‘Datuk ‘ comments

Tourism, Arts, Culture, Youth and Sports Minister Datuk Abdul Karim Rahman Hamzah speaks to reporters July 25, 2019. ― Picture by Sulok Tawie

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SIBU, May 8 — Sarawak Youth and Sports Minister Datuk Abdul Karim Rahman Hamzah admitted that many individuals including netizens were angry at his statement regarding national diver Pandalela Rinong recently.

In fact, he claimed some comments by netizens on Facebook included threats to burn down his house.

However, Abdul Karim, who accepts the matter as ‘free speech’ on social media, said he is not planning to lodge a police report as of now.

On May 7, Abdul Karim who is also Sarawak Tourism, Arts and Culture Minister was reported saying that rewarding Pandalela the ‘Datuk’ title for winning Malaysia’s first-ever gold medal at the Fina Diving World Cup recently is not appropriate because the athlete is still young.

“Of course, there are many rewards that can be given, but it does not mean that each time he or she becomes champion at international level, we must award the Datuk title, not necessarily like that.

“Because of that, I stated that there will be rewards for them (successful athletes),” he said when met by reporters here, today.

Abdul Karim said the Sarawak government had never neglected the state’s athletes who were successful in major sports championships, especially at international level. — Bernama