Kick-boxers in Malaysia bemoan Islamist order to cover up
Sep 21, 2010, 4:52 GMT
Kuala Lumpur - Kick-boxers in Malaysia's Kelantan state are bemoaning rules imposed by its Islamist government that require them to don a T-shirt while banning shorts, tattoos and talismans as part of a policy to instil Muslim values, a newspaper reported Tuesday.
The Pan-Malaysian Islamic Party, the country's largest opposition party, which governs the state in north-eastern Malaysia came out with the conditions three months ago for kick-boxing, or tomoi as it is known in the state.
Kelantan Tomoi Boxing Association president Ramli Ibrahim told The Star that organizers of competitions have been informed about the new rules but he was sceptical about their chances of being obeyed.
'The feedback I got was that the organizers will find it very difficult to get the boxers to cover up their 'aurat,'' he was quoted as saying. Aurat refers to the body parts that should be covered up, according to Islam, which for men means the area between the navel and knees.
'But this matter can be resolved if organizers understand what it takes to keep the sport alive,' he added.
Kelantan government sports official Mohamed Ridza Mohamed Zain was reported as saying Sunday that the state wanted to instil Islamic values in sports. He said that was why the government was tightening up regulations in all sports, including tomoi, to ensure they conform to the Islamic policy championed by the state.
Another condition is that all competitions must have at least three teams with Kelantanese fighters and one team from Thailand.
Kick-boxing was introduced to Kelantan from neighbouring Thailand, where talismans and tattoos are common in the sport.