KORAT, Dec 14 (Bernama) -- Youth and Sports Minister Datuk Seri Azalina Othman Said wished the Malaysian contingent "Syabas" (well done) and congratulated those who had made it possible to achieve the 64-gold medal target.
"This is a success of the entire Nation and a victory for the united efforts of all Malaysians, immaterial of gender or race. The achievement shows that there has been progress and with the Key Performance Index system coming into play, I hope the results will only be better.
"But to be honest, initially I had my doubts as there were so many adverse reports of injuries, fears of biased judging, problems in sports associations, some had their own problems with International bodies and all these happened even before the SEA Games started.
"The determination shown by athletes, deserves a big thank you from the bottom of my heart and I wish to congratulate each and everyone who made it possible," Azalina told Bernama when contacted today.
She added that the achievement was a joint effort from the various parties involved like the National Sports Council (NSC), National Sports Institute (NSI), Olympic Council of Malaysia (OCM), National Sports Associations (NSAs) and the athletes themselves.
"I sincerely wish to be there in person to congratulate them (athletes, officials) but since Johor is facing floods, I will not be able to make it," said Azalina, who was in Korat twice to provide moral support and witness the action in the Games.
However, she urged the Malaysian contingent to continue their search for excellence and not rest on their laurels and hoped the SEA Games Federation and the respective sports associations will look into ways and means to maintain some form of consistency in the judging system for subjective sports.
"Biased judging in subjective sports has become a perennial problem in multi-sport events and continuously hamper the spirit of the Games. Fair play must always be emphasised as Winning alone should not be the motto of host countries.
"I have told NSC Director-General Datuk Zolkples Embong to look at such aspects and liase with the relevant authorities to minimise such shortfalls," she said.
Zolkples had also earlier indicated that Malaysia may consider not sending teams for subjective sports, if the judging system was not improved.