Council defends decision to reject Paralympic outfits designed by DAP leader’s sister

Council defends decision to reject Paralympic outfits designed by DAP leader’s sister

The Malaysian Paralympic Council, the governing body for the country’s Paralympic athletes to compete in competitions including the upcoming Paris Paralympics next month, has defended its decision to reject the national Paralympic athletes’ uniform designs following criticism from the sister of a DAP leader who was behind the creative team.

Chia Yeo Bee Sean, the sister of DAP Puchong MP and deputy chief of its women’s wing Yeo Bee Yin, revealed in a recent podcast that her project to design the national Paralympic athletes’ outfit was suddenly cancelled “without any explanation”.

Chia, who appeared on the podcast wearing a tracksuit designed by her team, described it as a “bittersweet experience.”

“We put our heart and soul into crafting a campaign that was more than just a costume design; it was a sincere attempt to unite our nation and make Malaysia proud again. The disappointment is profound,” she said in a social media post that sparked a wave of comments, many of which asked whether there were elements of cronyism in giving Chia the job.

Council chairperson Megat D Shahriman Zaharudin said the design put forward by Chia was not acceptable to the National Sports Council (NSC).

He said the design was submitted as part of the Paralympic Council’s memorandum of understanding with Limkokwing University to develop athlete uniforms for various sporting events over a four-year period, adding that it was ultimately MSN’s decision.

“She wore it for her interview. And the model was shown but not chosen,” Megat Shahriman told MalaysiaNow, adding that he believed Chia was taken by surprise by the rejection, likely because the board did not inform her.

He said it was normal for various designers to submit their work.

“Everyone had their chance and it’s all about merit, and I think MSN made the right decision, so we’re sticking to it,” he said.

In the podcast, Chia also took aim at what she described as the “ugly uniforms” of the Malaysian contingent at the Paris Olympics, which recently drew public criticism.

“Seeing these ugly uniforms thrown away in such a humiliating manner is heartbreaking, but our efforts and passion will always be a testament to our unwavering dedication and love for our country,” she said.

Chia also said he was sad that his team’s hard work and vision, which went beyond “just fabric and stitches,” was not realized.

Social media users, however, expressed surprise that Chia was commissioned to design the uniforms in the first place, with many drawing comparisons to the controversy involving the Selangor government’s demand-responsive transport (DRT) project.

The DRT project sparked outrage after it was revealed that a company run by the husband of DAP’s Hannah Yeoh, who is also Youth and Sports Minister, was one of two firms awarded the project without going through an open tender.

“She designed the Olympic baju. Oh my God really? Her??? Why does everything have to involve DAP?” asked Facebook user Khai Beng Tan in a post that went viral.

DAP supporters responded to the allegations by saying the accusations were baseless.

MalaysiaNow attempted to reach Chia but has so far been unsuccessful in getting a response.