Thursday, October 27, 2011

Sea Games: All systems go as fears allayed

FEARS over the readiness of Indonesia to host the 26th Sea Games in Palembang and Jakarta on Nov 11-22 have been quashed.

The Indonesia Sea Games Organising Committee (Inasoc) and the Malaysian Embassy in Jakarta have both provided guarantees that it will be smooth running particularly for the Malaysian contingent and their support corps, including fans after concerns were raised over security and the readiness of venues.

Malaysian ambassador to Indonesia Datuk Syed Munshe Afzaruddin Syed Hassan said fears over security of Malaysians during the Sea Games have been noted and the embassy is working closely with the Olympic Council of Malaysia (OCM) and the Malaysian contingent to the Sea Games to address each issue comprehensively.

"We've asked to meet with those in charge of the Malaysian contingent to address all concerns that have been raised.
"On our side, we can see quite clearly that Inasoc too are doing their utmost to ensure that the Sea Games is a success," said Syed Munshe after a meeting with a delegation from the Sportswriters Association of Malaysia (SAM), which was here to monitor the progress of preparations by the hosts.

Several departments and officers from the Malaysian Embassy have also been delegated to work hand-in-hand with the Sea Games contingent over the course of the biennial event.

Syed Munshe called for a closer working relationship between the parties involved.

"We'll also be working on ensuring our contingent is well supported, particularly by the groups of students we have here and Malaysians residing in Indonesia," said Syed Munshe.

In allaying fears over security considering recent anti-Malaysia protests by Indonesians over border issues, Syed Munshe also called for Malaysians to take necessary precautions to prevent any untoward incidents during the Games.

"There is no reason to fear these protests. They are usually done outside the embassy and heavily guarded by the police.

"Elsewhere, this isn't the case. In the case of supporters, there has to be coordination with the embassy so that we can take the necessary measures to help them have a more comfortable experience," said Syed Munshe.

"We need to know how many fans are going to which venues and then we can coordinate with the hosts to cordon off sections at those venues just for Malaysian fans. This will help avoid any potential trouble."

While there have been reports of venues not being ready in time, the SAM delegation's visit found those reports to be untrue, at least as far as venues in Jakarta, where events will be hosted mainly in existing venues which are only awaiting completion of minor facelifts.

Inasoc head of media and broadcasting Linda Wahyudi said issues in Palembang were mainly about the availability of accommodation for which the organisers are taking measures to solve, including the possibility of having cruise ships docked at the port city to provide extra temporary hotel rooms to serve the Games.

"The rest of it, like the main press centre and international broadcast centre are ready.

"Venues, internally are all ready and at the moment if work is being done, it is mainly on the outside, such as landscaping," said Linda.

In total contingents of over 16,000 athletes and officials from the 11 competing nations and a workforce of over 26,000 will be activated for the Games.

Linda added that 31 television stations from 10 countries and almost 3,000 media delegates will be at work during the Games.

Malaysia's chef-de-mission Datuk Naim Mohamad led a delegation which ensured the country was the first to register its full contingent with Inasoc in Jakarta yesterday, where he also allayed all concerns raised.

"As far as we can see there are no issues. Even the SAM delegation was here to have a first hand look at preparations and they have seen for themselves that there is nothing to be worried about.

"The hosts too have been really welcoming and cooperative," said Naim.

Read more: NST

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