VIENNA, Jan 22 — Malaysia has the right not to allow athletes from a “criminal country” like Israel to enter the country, Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad said.
The prime minister said during a press conference here that every country “has a right to accept or refuse entry to people from other nations.”
“People who are undesirable for our country must be kept out and this includes people suspected of being terrorists and the like.
“We have that right and we must exercise that right,” Dr Mahathir said.
The prime minister said this to a question on Malaysia’s decision to ban swimmers from Israel from competing in the World Para Swimming championships in Sarawak July 29 to August 4.
“These athletes come from a country that does what it likes, including building settlements in other people’s country.
“They have raided our ship, which was carrying aid for the people of Gaza.
“There are many other things done by Israel that is against international law and against morality.
“We don’t want anything to do with them, including their people. If they want to compete in sports, they can go to other countries.
“But for Malaysia, they are coming from a criminal country and we cannot accept them,” said Dr Mahathir.