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Two Malaysian athletes 'in positive drugs tests'

Two medal-winning Malaysian athletes failed drugs tests at November's Southeast Asian Games but no action has been taken against them, a government minister said according to a report Thursday.

The New Straits Times did not name the athletes but said one was a member of Malaysia's victorious 4x400 metre relay quartet and the other a weightlifter who took a bronze at the event in Indonesia.

It quoted the country's sports minister Ahmad Shabery Cheek saying their "A" samples had tested positive for a banned substance and they could be stripped of their medals if the "B" samples, to be tested next week, confirm the initial results.

"I am shocked to hear that two of our athletes have failed dope tests," he said, also without naming the pair.

"I am very sad this has happened and it is something we cannot tolerate. To have to return the gold medal after all the publicity that they received is shameful."

Neither the Malaysian Athletic Union nor the Malaysian Weightlifting Federation had moved to penalise the competitors, the minister said, threatening to step in if they did not act.

"I am still not sure how this has happened and I am waiting for an answer from the associations," Ahmad Shabery told the paper.

"This responsibility falls on the national associations and the fact that they are keeping silent shows they have no clue what to do over this matter.

"We must find out whether this is an isolated case involving an athlete or one which involves the whole association. If they (the associations) take this matter lightly, we can also take action (against them)."

Malaysia won 59 gold, 50 silver and 81 bronze medals at the games.

Neither association could be reached for comment.

The paper said the last time action was taken against a Malaysian athlete for failing a dope test was in 2005, when weightlifter Amirul Hamizan Ibrahim was banned for two years after failing an out-of-competition dope test.

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