The Sultan of Selangor today expressed extreme displeasure over the state government's proposed use of “#KitaLawan!” motto for the 2016 Malaysia Games (Sukma), saying that sporting events should not be tainted by politics.
Sultan Sharafuddin Idris Shah said he wants the state government to replace the motto with something non-controversial that reflects the good name of the athletes, their teams and the tournament.
In his address at the Selangor Sports Awards ceremony in Subang Jaya tonight, the Sultan said his disagreement stems from the belief that sports should be free from politics and that sporting spirit should not be tainted by political and racial elements.
He said sporting bodies, the athletes and their supporters should set aside political differences and use sports as a platform to unite different races, especially youths.
"I do not agree with the slogan of the Selangor sports contingent using 'Kita Lawan' for the 2016 Sukma as disclosed in the Selangor legislative state assembly and reported by the media.
"This is because the slogan has been adapted by a political party.
"Therefore, I do not want the general public to misunderstand that the Selangor contingent is trying to mix sports with politics," he said, adding that politics too should not be allowed to seep into sports' administration.
The motto was revealed late March by Selangor executive councillor for sports Amirudin Shari after chairing a meeting with state sports associations.
The #KitaLawan slogan is also used in Pakatan Rakyat's campaign to free jailed PKR de facto leader Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim, who was imprisoned for five years by the Federal Court for sodomy.
In 2013 Sukma, Selangor had used the slogan “Kali Ini”, which essentially means the same as the coalition's “Ini Kalilah” slogan for the 13th general election.
At the same time, Sultan Sharafuddin also expressed concern over the declining performance of athletes in last year's Sukma.
He said with available facilities for both indoor and outdoor sports, Selangor should be champion in every sport tournament.
"The state provides many sports facilities, whether indoor or outdoor in many areas... The athletes and teams representing the state should become champions in every sport tournaments, but why does that not happening?"
He warned that if the matter was not addressed immediately, Selangor could face a decline in sporting achievements.
In an immediate reaction, Amirudin said the state government acknowledged the Sultan's request and would replace the motto.
"We take the reprimand seriously and accept the suggestion to come up with a better slogan for the contingent."
He said a discussion between the menteri besar and sports associations would be held to find a slogan that "will be accepted by all".
He said the #KitaLawan slogan was only a proposal and the decision to use it has not been finalised.
"Sukma is next year. Usually, our slogan or motto will only be revealed at the last minute.
"This is only a proposal but already it has been discussed extensively in the media as if it has been decided."
On the state's dwindling performance, he said a more holistic development programme for athletes and sports is being put in place to improve sporting achievement in the near future.