From: Hazman Hamid <email@example.com> Subject: 'Selangor not involved in bringing in Israeli' To: Date: Tuesday, November 1, 2011, 12:07 AM
'Selangor not involved in bringing in Israeli'
1:08PM Nov 1, 2011
The Selangor government today shot down claims by Youth and Sports Minister Shabery Cheek that it was involved in bringing in an Israeli citizen into Malaysia for the filming of an international reality television series.
In a statement today, its Tourism, Consumer Affairs and Environment Committee chairperson Elizabeth Wong (right) said the government had won the bid for The Challenger Muay Thai to be filmed in the state but was not involved in organising it nor had a hand in its fighter selection.
“We did not invite any of the fighters nor sign any support documents for an Israeli national to enter Malaysia. If we had prior information, we would have firmly told the Youth and Sports Ministry and the Immigration Department not to grant entry.”
Malaysia does not have diplomatic ties with Israeli and travel between the two countries is illegal.
Shabery told Parliament yesterday that the Selangor government approved an allocation of RM5 million for the series, which would feature Israeli boxer Ilya Grad.
‘Federal gov’t responsible’
The comments were in reaction to an allegation by PAS last week that the Youth and Sports Ministry had made special arrangements to allow Ilya into the country.
However, Wong fingered the federal government for allowing an Israeli to slip into the country as immigration falls within its jurisdiction.
In a blog post on the Muay Thai Authority website on Oct 15, Grad said he was assured that “some influential people” in Malaysia would ensure that there would be no hurdles for him to enter the country.
“After a long wait of 25 hours, the Malaysian Muaythai Federation, with the support of the Malaysian sports minister, finally made it happen and got the necessary papers to let me into the country.
“Just like that I crossed the border with a special pass, a very special pass indeed for my Israeli passport wasn’t even stamped!” Grad wrote.