Malaysia plans to look into "Islamic compliance" of the attires used by sportsmen and women following public criticism over the leotards used by a champion gymnast at the Southeast Asian Games in Singapore.
Gymnast Farah Ann Abdul Hadi, who won six medals at the regional games, was slammed for her outfit while competing in the games.
Jamil Khir Baharom, the minister in charge of Islamic Affairs, said that it was the responsibility of Muslims, regardless of gender, to cover parts of their body which should not be publicly exposed.
"We take note of this so it becomes a guide, in whatever field including sports for us to take a more in-depth look at clothing on issues that can taint Islam, including Muslim women," he said, according to the Malay Mail.
Earlier, Siti Zailah Mohd Yusoff, an MP for the Islamist opposition party PAS had asked if the government was looking into enforcing shariah compliance in all issues that involve Muslims. She said that the clothing used by female Muslim athletes that expose parts of their body that should not be displayed went against Islamic principles and "is very shameful".
According to The Star, Malaysian Gymnastics Federation secretary N. Shanmugarajah said: "The leotards our gymnasts wear are FIG [International Federation of Gymnastics] approved and you have to wear them if you want to compete."
Despite being slammed for her outfit, the 21-year-old gymnast has received an outpouring of support from Malaysians who say her performance at the games should be celebrated.
Former minister Rafidah Aziz lashed out at Farah's critics, saying they were obsessed with athletes' body shapes and dressing instead of their performances.
"They have a choice. They don't have to watch the sport and see what, in their personal opinion, is indecent or inappropriate dressing," she said in her column in the Utusan Malaysia.
Even Malaysia's Youth and Sports Minister Khairy Jamaluddin tweeted: "In gymnastics Farah wowed the judges and brought home gold. In her deeds only the Almighty judges her. Not you. Leave our athletes alone."
And another supporter tweeted: