JOHOR BARU, May 13 – The Youth and Sports Ministry will leave it to the Foreign Ministry to decide whether the national football squad can leave for Pyongyang to play in a 2019 Asian Cup qualifier. North Korea is set to play host to Malaysia in the much anticipated match in Pyongyang on June 8. Youth and Sports Minister Khairy Jamaluddin said this is because the Foreign Ministry is responsible for handling the travel of Malaysians abroad.

“The Foreign Ministry determines our (government) policy in respect of travel restrictions. I have told them to inform the Football Association of Malaysia (FAM) of the government’s stand. I just oversee sports. When it comes to travel to foreign countries, it is better to leave it to the Foreign Ministry, ” he said commenting on the statement by FAM president Tunku Ismail Sultan Ibrahim who disagreed with the decision to go to Pyongyang for the match.

He was met at the Torch Run of 29th SEA Games (Kuala Lumpur 2017) and the 9th Asean PARA Games in the compound of Muzium Tokoh Johor in Bukit Senyum, here, today. Khairy said the Foreign Ministry would issue a statement on the issue after holding talks with the Youth and Sports Ministry.

Tunku Ismail is against the national squad going to Pyongyang for the match because of serious security issues in North Korea. He requested that the match be played in a neutral country, thereby ensuring that Malaysia does not forfeit the match and be punished via a fine or expulsion by the Asian Football Confederation (AFC). — Bernama

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