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Council defends move to reject paralympics attire designed by DAP leader's sister

Paralympic Council Malaysia responds to remarks from the sister of Puchong MP Yeo Bee Yin who questioned the decision to stop her project ahead of the Paris Games.

3 minute read
Chia Yeo Bee Sean appears on a podcast wearing a tracksuit designed by her team for national paralympic athletes. Photo: Facebook
Chia Yeo Bee Sean appears on a podcast wearing a tracksuit designed by her team for national paralympic athletes. Photo: Facebook

The Paralympic Council Malaysia, the body governing the country's paralympics' participation in competitions, including at the upcoming Paralympic Games Paris next month, has defended a decision to reject designs for the national paralympic athletes' attire following criticism by the sister of a DAP leader who was behind the creative team.

Chia Yeo Bee Sean, the sister of DAP's Puchong MP and it's women's wing deputy chief Yeo Bee Yin, revealed in a recent podcast that her project to design the outfit for the national paralympic athletes was suddenly called off "without any explanation".

Chia, who appeared on the podcast wearing a tracksuit her team had designed, described it as a "bittersweet experience".

"We poured our hearts and souls into crafting a campaign that was more than just costume design; it was a heartfelt attempt to unite our nation and make Malaysia proud once again. The disappointment cuts deep," she said in a social media post that sparked a flurry of comments, many of which asked if there were elements of cronyism in giving the job to Chia.

The council's president Megat D Shahriman Zaharudin said the design referred to by Chia was not acceptable to the National Sports Council (MSN).

He said the design was submitted as part of the paralympic council's MoU with Limkokwing University to come up with athletes' uniforms for various sporting events over a period of four years, adding that it was ultimately MSN's call.

"She was wearing it for her interview. And the design was shown but not chosen," Megat Shahriman told MalaysiaNow, adding that he believed Chia was taken by surprise by the rejection, probably due to the council not informing her.

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

"Everybody got the chance and everything is on merit, and I believe MSN took the proper decision, so we stick by it," he said.

Chia in the podcast had also taken aim at what she described as the "ugly uniforms" for Malaysia's Paris Olympics contingent, which recently attracted public criticism.

"Seeing the ugly uniforms launched in such a humiliating manner is heartbreaking, but our efforts and passion will always stand as a testament to our unwavering dedication and love for our country," she said.

Chia also said it was sad that her team's hard work and vision that had gone beyond "mere fabric and stitches" was not realised.

Social media users however expressed surprise that Chia had been tasked with designing the uniforms in the first place, with many drawing comparisons with the controversy involving the Selangor government's demand responsive transit (DRT) project.

The DRT project sparked outrage after it was revealed that a company headed by the husband of DAP's Hannah Yeoh, who is also the youth and sports minister, was one of two firms given the project without going through open tender.

"She designed the olympic baju. OMG really? She??? Why must everything involve the DAP?" asked Facebook user Khai Beng Tan in a posting that has been making the rounds.

DAP supporters have responded to the claims by saying the accusations are baseless.

MalaysiaNow has been attempting to reach Chia but has so far failed to get a response.