Hoping for a haze-free SEA Games

KUALA LUMPUR, 28 July 2017: 

The Olympic Council of Malaysia (OCM) hopes the Kuala Lumpur 2017 SEA Games – to be held Aug 19-30 – won’t be affected by the haze that has engulfed parts of Sumatera, especially Aceh, currently.

OCM president Tan Sri Tunku Imran Tuanku Ja’afar said every time Malaysia organised a major international event, the weather has been favourable and thus far had not interrupted preparations or the competition.

“We cannot control the weather but we assure you we always have had good weather for all our games in the past. You cannot control the weather, but we believe this year it will be good.

“A year before we hosted the 1998 Commonwealth Games, we faced a very bad haze problem and the delegates attending the Commonwealth Games Federation then were worried. But during the Games, everything was fine.”

On Tuesday, Indonesia’s disaster mitigation agency (BPNB) has warned of an escalating threat of forest fires with the dry season expected to peak in coming months, while hot spots detected in the province of Aceh have already been causing choking smoke.

AFP reported that hospitals in Aceh were filled with hundreds of people, including children, who had suffered breathing problems due to the smoke.

“The peak of the dry season is predicted to be in August and September, so the threat of forest and field fires, and drought will escalate,” Sutopo Purwo Nugroho, a spokesman for BNPB had said in a statement.

However, Natural Resources and Environment Minister Datuk Seri Dr Wan Junaidi Tuanku Jaafar has expressed confidence in the measures taken by the Indonesian government to combat forest fires in the aftermath of the 2015 major haze incident.

Malaysia’s chef-de-mission Datuk Marina Chin hoped Malaysia would not be affected by the haze to ensure athletes remained at their best physical and mental condition throughout the games.

“In the event that the haze situation persists, the Malaysian SEA Games Organising Committee will meet and discuss the next course of action.”

As for the question of who would be the flag bearer for the games, Marina said the question would be answered on the last day of the centralised training camp for the Malaysian contingent on Aug 10.

“On Aug 10, I will receive the ‘Jalur Gemilang’ from Yang di-Pertuan Agong at the Putrajaya International Convention Centre (PICC) and hand it to the flag bearer chosen for the games.”

– Bernama

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