BANGI, July 12 — Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Dr Ahmad Zahid Hamidi has proposed that the value of rewards under the National Sports Incentive Scheme (Shakam) be tripled as an incentive for national athletes to bring further glory to Malaysia at the international stage.
Speaking at the SHAKAM 2023 awards ceremony here tonight, he felt that the current incentives were inadequate compared to the achievements of the national athletes at competitions and meets.
“We are achieving more success but it is not reflected in the rewards given. I also sympathise with the minister (Youth and Sports Minister Hannah Yeoh) as she has been trying to ask (the government) for more rewards and incentives.
“If I am invited for the next Shakam (awards event), I would like the value of rewards tripled. Many from the private sector are willing to sponsor, and if there are listed companies with huge profits who are willing to sponsor, I believe the government will offer them tax reduction,” he said.
Ahmad Zahid, who is also Rural and Regional Development Minister, also expressed hope and confidence that Prime Minister Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim will announce additional incentives for the sports sector in Budget 2024 in October.
Shakam is a manifestation of the country’s appreciation for athletes who have won medals in major sporting events including the Olympic Games, Paralympics, Commonwealth Games, Asian Games, Para Asian Games, SEA Games and ASEAN Para Games.
The highest reward is RM1 million for gold medal winners in the Olympic and Paralympics. Shakam incentives are also given to athletes who successfully set new records and also for team achievements.
Ahmad Zahid, meanwhile also praised Yeoh’s commitment to developing national sports along with her deputy Adam Adli Abd Halim.
“I am of the view that KBS (Youth and Sports Ministry) is very fortunate to have Hanna who is very proactive. During Cabinet meetings, I see her constantly championing the plight of national athletes,” Ahmad Zahid, who also expressed pride in the achievements of the national athletes in the Cambodia 2023 SEA Games and the Cambodia 2023 Para ASEAN Games recently, said.
At Shakam 2023, SEA Games medalists received more than RM1.2 million in total rewards while ASEAN Para Games medalists took home rewards worth RM1.18 million.
The event also celebrated the success of national athletes who competed in the 2023 Special Olympics in Berlin last month, in which they received incentives totalling RM95,500.