Budget 2023: Hoping for new shift towards ‘Sporting Nation’ 2025

03/10/2022 09:43 PM

By Ahmad Nazrin Syahmi Mohamad Arif

KUALA LUMPUR, Oct 3 (Bernama) -- Local sports analyst Datuk Dr Pekan Ramli believes there needs to be a new shift in Budget 2023 if the aim is to turn Malaysia into a ‘Sporting Nation’ by 2025.

He said the objective would be difficult to achieve if Budget 2023 only continued the previous trend of, among others, focusing on high-performance sports, in addition to the allocation for building, upgrading and maintaining sports facilities.

He said that to realise the aim, it would involve a much bigger allocation that far exceeds anything that had been given, in addition to making the organisation of international-level sports events an important aspect.

“The government should provide a big allocation so that we can attract various international-level sports events to be held here. Many countries, like China, are willing to host various tournaments numerous times.

“This (the purpose of organising international tournaments) is not only because they want to raise their country’s quality of sports but also to boost their economy, in addition to fanning the fans’ interest in sports,” he told Bernama.

He said this would indirectly influence the people to be involved in sports activities which, in turn, will have an impact on the economy and elevate sports as one of the crucial elements in life.

On Saturday (Oct 1), Deputy Youth and Sports Minister Datuk Seri Ti Lian Ker was quoted as saying that the Youth and Sports Ministry (KBS) was targeting Malaysia to become a “Sporting Nation” by 2025, with a Malaysia Sports Culture Index (IBSM) score of over 75 per cent.

Ti also said that the overall IBSM achievement for 2021 was 52 per cent, which showed that the involvement of the people in sports activities was still at a moderate level.

As such, Pekan, who is also the Ministry of Higher Education (MOHE), Sports Section, Division deputy secretary, is of the view that Budget 2023 is the perfect start to ensuring the KBS achieves its objective.

“We must start now, from next year’s budget, we want to see what is different or we want to see the same things and amount approved for sports. We should inject more funds for sports post-COVID-19,” he said.

Budget 2022 saw the whole sports industry in the country receiving RM239 million, with RM10 million allocated to the National Sports Council (NSC) specifically to empower para sports through training programmes and implementing the Para Sports League.

Another RM159 million was allocated for building, upgrading and maintaining sports facilities nationwide; RM50 million for the cultivation of an active lifestyle, Fit Forever, and National Sports Days; and RM20 million for the development of national e-sports, including RM5 for the setting up of the Drone Sports Excellence Centre.

Meanwhile, Pekan also hoped that other sports on the radar to help achieve the country’s first Olympic gold medal at the 2024 Paris Games would not be sidelined under Budget 2023.

He said attention should also be given to sports with the potential to clinch old medals at the Olympics in future editions and not just focused on the Paris edition.

“We cannot focus and spend big on what we have now and what we see now. We can provide a bigger allocation to sports that have the potential and can produce unexpected results. If not in 2024, then perhaps we can clinch the elusive Olympic gold in 2028,” he said.