By Andrew Loh
Singapore journalists are being criticised by their Malaysian counterparts for unprofessional conduct during a SEA Games netball match between the two countries on Sunday.
According to a report on Monday in Malaysia Malay Mail newspaper, “Singapore pressmen shouted ‘hoi balik kampong’ (go home to your village) several times to the Malaysian players” during the game at the OCBC Arena.
“While their jeers were drowned out by loud music, the Malaysian pressmen were not amused by their antics,” the Malay Mail said.
“Although the Malaysian players downplayed the incident, calling it ‘psychological warfare’, the Sportswriters Association of Malaysia (SAM) said such behaviour created a bad perception towards journalists.”
Singapore won the match 46-43, taking the gold medal in the process.
“I am shocked by the behaviour of the Singaporean journalists at the press box,” said SAM president Ahmad Khawari Isa, according to the Malay Mail.
“I’ve been informed of the incident by several Malaysian journalists covering the final,” he said.
“Professionalism down the drain,” the newspaper said in its report which was headlined, ‘Netball girls jeered by pressmen’.
“But what can one expect from a nation known to be a global financial centre but not for etiquette and a fine sense of decorum,” the Malay Mail said. “The irony is it happened during a competition promoting goodwill among nations.”
The Singaporean authorities have not acknowledged or apologised for the incident. Neither have the Singapore press companies, or the journalists involved in the alleged incident.
It is also unclear who the journalists were who are said to have jeered the Malaysian team.