Malaysian contingent uniform under fire, Hannah Yeoh deflects criticism, netizens compare designs with other countries

'Embarrassing' and 'uninspired': Malaysians slam 2024 Olympic uniforms

25 Jun 2024 01:39pm
Malaysia's Summer Olympics 2024 uniform (left) compared to the United States (top right) and France (bottom right) official attires. Photos source: Facebook.
Malaysia's Summer Olympics 2024 uniform (left) compared to the United States (top right) and France (bottom right) official attires. Photos source: Facebook.

SHAH ALAM - Malaysian athletes' attire for the upcoming Paris Olympics has sparked controversy online, with many criticising the design as uninspired and lacking national pride.

Launched on June 23 during the Olympic Day 2024 celebration at The Exchange, TRX in Kuala Lumpur, the uniforms aimed to symbolise Malaysia's quest for its first Olympic gold medal but were met with widespread disapproval.

Budgetary Constraints and Blame Game

However, social media comments slammed the design as simple, unoriginal, and embarrassing for such a prestigious event.

The Olympic Council of Malaysia (OCM) cited sponsor budget limitations as a key reason for the underwhelming design.

They stressed that sponsors, not the government, funded the uniforms.

OCM Secretary-General Datuk Mohd Nazifuddin Najib said that the attire was developed under several constraints, including budget limitations from sponsors.

He emphasised that the uniforms were funded by sponsors rather than the government.

"We are limited by what sponsors can provide within their budgets. Opting for premium designs would increase costs for the sponsors," he said.

Nazifuddin noted that the current design would be used for travel and event participation during the Olympics, while a different design would be unveiled for the opening ceremony.

He also stated that feedback from athletes and officials would be considered for future designs.

Meanwhile, Youth and Sports Minister Hannah Yeoh clarified on X that the Youth and Sports Ministry (KBS) and the National Sports Council (MSN) had no control over the design.

"The attire is under the responsibility of MOM and was a collaboration with Yonex, beyond the jurisdiction of KBS and MSN," she reportedly said.

The Instagram post by the OCM unveiling the attire received predominantly negative reactions.

One user bluntly called the uniforms "ugly" and questioned the approval process, while another described the design as "school-level" and unfit for the Olympics.

Calls for a redesign were common with some fearing the current attire would embarrass the national contingent.

Local celebrities and social media influencers also joined the criticism

Actor Awal Ashaari sarcastically commented on the viral post, stating: “We dress them (Malaysian athletes) in these and expect gold medals in return?”

Fitness social media influencer, Muhammad Khalish said: “And this is the official photo to announce the attire?”

Meanwhile, social media influencer Azfar Herisyam better known as Azfar Heri expressed his dissatisfaction on the design, adding to the discontent.

Comparisons with other countries' Olympic uniforms further fueled the controversy.

Twitter user @Januarhaikal highlighted the superior designs of other nations, such as the United States' sportswear by Ralph Lauren and France's fashion-forward approach.

He argued that Malaysia, despite having designers like Bernard Chandran, Jimmy Choo and Rizalman Ibrahim had fallen behind.

He also noted that Canada's team, sponsored by Lululemon, had multiple official attires for different events, a total of four sets of attires, setting a high standard Malaysia did not meet.

Reddit users echoed the criticism

@nowherefarhan commented: “That jacket is straight from the 90s. The fact that they used mannequins instead of actual athletes is hilarious.”

Another Reddit user, @komer25 mentioned: “The mannequins looks really spastic, they can not even get proper looking ones.”

@risetoeden expressed disappointment and said: “That looks so dull and gloomy, I hope the athletes are in high spirits while competing because this looks awful. Shame on the ministry.”

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