National badminton player Lee Chong Wei’s close defeat to Lin Dan last night may have left many disappointed, but it was a DAP assemblyperson who is now feeling the heat.
While Lee’s ( right ) efforts won him praise and adoration, DAP’s Kota Alam Shah assemblyperson M Manoharan’s remarks on micro-blogging site Twitter has only earned him brickbats.
Twitter user Nurashikin Ahmad said:“We will not allow you to make Lee Chong Wei feel inferior! He has done more for this country than you probably could ever do.”
Others slammed Manoharan for his “idiocy” and “foot-in-mouth disease”, and for politicising a sporting event which they felt had managed to unite the nation.
Some, like user Alaram Kalai, took it a notch further by threatening to lodge a police report against Manoharan.
Colleagues in Pakatan Rakyat, too, were not happy.
“Some politicians should never use social media if they lack the ability to think before tweeting,” said DAP’s Subang Jaya assemblyperson Hannah Yeoh, seemingly in response to Manoharan.
PKR’s Seri Setia assemblyperson Nik Nazmi Nik Ahmad also said it is “unreasonable to belittle Lee’s efforts due to bigotry ( ketaksuban )”.
Manoharan’s string of faux pas began soon after Lin Dan clinched the gold, when he tweeted: “Lin Dan wins. He played better than Lee Chong AWAY”.
He then followed through by stating that Lin Dan had played better than his Malaysian counterpart and that anyone who thought otherwise was “talking nonsense”.
Digging in further, Manoharan then berated the government for promising monetary rewards for athletes and snidely said that the cash prize should now be extended to the “poor boy Lin Dan”.
He also got accused of racism when he tweeted: “Lin Dan is so stylish. So modern. Doesn’t look like a China man, but from China. Tattoo(s) all over.”
“Ya, ya, China men live in the jungle,” Twitter used Chew Hoong Ling responded.
To top it off, Manoharan said that Malaysia can expect a gold if Pakatan Rakyat is in power.
‘I don’t know why they’re upset’
Contacted today, Manoharan seemed surprised that his tweets has gotten Twitterjaya up in arms.
“My comments were not intended to insult or degrade anybody. I don’t know why people are getting so upset. My intention was for the betterment of the sport, to see a gold medal in the future,” he said.
He explained that the tweet "Lee Chong AWAY" meant that that "the gold medal had gone away" to China.
Manoharan also denied that he had made a racist remark and that there is “nothing wrong with calling someone stylish”.
“I did not condemn Lee. We all know he did his best, but I maintain that Lin Dan was the better player.
“Sports and politics do mix. Under the BN we have stadiums collapsing, in-fighting among sports associations and sports councils. A lot can be done to improve this."
He also blamed the gold medal drought on the government, accusing it of “not fighting hard enough” to include sports like squash and sepak takraw into the Olympic Games.
“Nicol David has been an undefeated world champion for many years,” said the politician, who last year landed in hot water for tweeting that Malaysian “does not have a world class flag”.
He added that while he does not speak on behalf of the coalition, he believes Pakatan can do a better job in managing sports in the country.
“Give Pakatan a chance to see gold in the 2016 Olympics in Rio,” he reiterated.
MCA slams 'insensitive' Manoharan
Another four-year wait to end Malaysia's gold drought
Razali: Chong Wei to be greeted as national hero