Malaysia (Common Wealth) _ Hannah Yeoh, the Minister of Youth and Sports for Malaysia in Anwar’s Cabinet, has emphasized the negative impacts of political unrest on Malaysia’s athletes and their performance, notably at the just-completed SEA Games.
Mrs. Yeoh drew attention to the fact that no specific funding has been set aside for the podium program in 2022 in her response.
As a result, the National Sports Council (NSC) was forced to redesign athlete training plans for significant athletic events happening this year, including the Asian Games in China, the Birmingham Games, the Commonwealth Games, and the SEA Games in Vietnam.
Due to the lack of a dedicated budget for the implementation of senior training programs under the podium program, 220 athletes were unable to continue their training.
Hannah Yeoh noted that in order to resolve this issue, the NSC has to use internal finances to maintain coach wages and athlete training expenses.
The period in question, from January to February 2022, lasted for two months. The ministry eventually requested more funding from the cabinet, which led to the approval of an allocation of RM 240 million (about USD 52 million) as part of Malaysia’s Plan 12, which runs from 2022 to 2025 and includes RM60 million for each year.
Hannah Yeoh made a point of highlighting how the shortage of finances allotted and the delays in allowances and coach pay had a direct influence on the athletes’ training schedules, particularly for those requiring trips abroad for competitions and specialist coaching.
I’ve talked about this with athletes and associations, and they agree that while we were preoccupied with politics for the past four years, our neighbors’ countries have advanced.
“It would be simple for me to transfer all of the responsibility for responding and offering explanations to the national sports associations. But I think that would be a reckless move,” she continued.
She emphasizes that she does not solely blame political instability, but she wants MPs to understand that over the past four years, particularly after the Sheraton Move, political instability has hampered a number of government initiatives aimed at promoting the economy and education.
Despite sending 677 competitors, the fifth-largest delegation, and aiming to capture 40 gold medals at the 32nd Southeast Asian Games Malaysians were disappointed by the country’s performance at the SEA Games, which was the worst it had ever had. This raised questions about the future of Malaysian sports.
A Malaysian media outlet, The New Straits Times, referred to the result as a “heartbreaking game” for Malaysia in an article, highlighting concerns about the health of Malaysian sports and the causes of the sharp drop in performance.
The Malaysian delegation, which collected 175 medals, including 34 gold, 45 silver, and 96 bronze, took seventh place overall.