KUALA LUMPUR, Nov 1 -Several private companies have expressed interest in collaborating with the Ministry of Youth and Sports (KBS) in providing sponsorship to ensure continuity of high-performance sports programmes next year.
Its Minister Datuk Seri Ahmad Faizal Azumu, however, admitted that the offers received were still insufficient and invited private companies and other corporate bodies to work with KBS to help athletes undergo training through the programmes so that they can continue to compete at the highest level.
As Budget 2022 did not touch on allocations for high-performance sports programmes, Ahmad Faizal said the sponsorships were very important as the national athletes would face three big games next year, namely the SEA Games, Commonwealth Games and Asian Games.
“For example, although there is no allocation for the Podium Programme, KBS will certainly find ways to do collaboration programmes with private companies to obtain sponsorship.
“In fact, I myself have started to get offers from private companies to cooperate in this matter,” he told Bernama.
Earlier, Ahmad Faizal had been the guest-of-honour on Bernama TV’s Ruang Bicara programme which discussed the topic ‘Budget 2022: Light for Youth and the National Sports Industry’ last night.
Asked why no such provision was provided in Budget 2022, he explained that the COVID-19 pandemic had resulted in the government prioritising the people’s economy rather than provide funds in other directions.
“COVID-19 gives us a lesson and spirit to “kita jaga kita” (caring for one another). I see with this spirit, private companies and the public can come forward to help the government, including (in the field of) sports next year,” he said.
When tabling Budget 2022 in the Dewan Rakyat last Friday, Finance Minister Tengku Datuk Seri Zafrul Tengku Abdul Aziz announced an allocation of RM10 million specifically to increase training programmes for para athletes and implement the Para Sports League in preparation for the 2024 Paris Paralympic Games.
Also provided is an allocation of RM159 million to build, upgrade and maintain sports facilities nationwide, RM50 million for active lifestyle culture, ‘Fit Forever’ programmes and National Sports Day (HSN), and RM20 million for national e-sports development including RM5 million for setting up a Drone Sports Centre of Excellence.
Touching on Budget 2022, Ahmad Faizal said the success of Malaysian athletes at the Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games who contributed three gold and two silver medals was recognised by the government through an allocation of RM10 million for the group after they brought cheer for Malaysians when the country struggled with the pandemic.
Apart from that, he said the setting up of the Drone Sports Centre of Excellence is the most interesting initiative in this budget and praised the Ministry of Finance’s move to provide the allocation as the development of drone sports and the manufacture of drones is gaining ground in the country.