Malaysia’s sports minister has urged fans not to boo Olympic swimming champion Joseph Schooling at the Southeast Asian Games, after the Singaporean sparked a furore by vowing to “teach (Malaysians) a thing or two”.
Schooling, who won Singapore’s first gold medal at last year’s Rio Olympics, caused controversy with his remarks last week, before insisting he meant no offense and that his comments were taken out of context.
Sports Minister Khairy Jamaluddin said fans shouldn’t give Schooling a rough ride at the event from August 19-30 — and told them to remember that the swimmer’s mother is Malaysian.
“No booing, no jeering,” he was quoted as saying in the New Straits Times newspaper Friday.
“That is not what the SEA Games is about. Tensions will run high, cheer for your team but don’t jeer others.”
He added Malaysians should not “dwell on this too much, it is important to remember that Joseph Schooling’s mother is Malaysian”.
Schooling, who stunned his idol Michael Phelps to win 100m butterfly gold in Rio last year, is likely to play a starring role in Kuala Lumpur after he swept nine gold medals at the 2015 SEA Games in Singapore.