Minister: Cabinet agrees on medical aid for athletes, RM3m for welfare

Syed Saddiq Syed Abdul Rahman said the Cabinet has agreed to the proposal for medical aid to be provided for national athletes, including those who are no longer athletes, while RM3 million has also been channelled to a welfare fund for the sportsmen. — Picture by Hari Anggara
Syed Saddiq Syed Abdul Rahman said the Cabinet has agreed to the proposal for medical aid to be provided for national athletes, including those who are no longer athletes, while RM3 million has also been channelled to a welfare fund for the sportsmen. — Picture by Hari Anggara

KUALA LUMPUR, Feb 27 — The Cabinet has agreed to the proposal for medical aid to be provided for national athletes, including those who are no longer athletes, while RM3 million has also been channelled to a welfare fund for the sportsmen, minister Syed Saddiq Syed Abdul Rahman announced today.

Syed Saddiq said the Cabinet’s decision to provide medical and health facilities to current and former national athletes represents a significant commitment to their welfare and health.

“This initiative is also a recognition by the government towards athletes and former national athletes that have contributed in bringing Malaysia’s name to the international stage,” he said in a statement today after the Cabinet’s weekly meeting.

Syed Saddiq said the aid includes outpatient and inpatient treatment at all government medical premises for existing and former national athletes who have represented the country in sports.

He listed those as eligible for the aid as being those who are listed by the Olympic Council of Malaysia or the Paralympic Council of Malaysia in any sports team that represented the country in championships at least at the South-east Asian (SEA) Games level or its equivalent.

Others who qualify for the medical facilities are those listed in any team for core sports that are currently undergoing training programmes conducted by the National Sports Council (MSN) or the National Sports Institute (ISN).

As for those who are listed in teams for non-core sports but have represented the country in at least the SEA Games or its equivalent, Syed Saddiq said they would qualify for the medical facilities upon agreement by the evaluation committee with the certification of the MSN director-general.

“Besides the medical facilities to current and former national athletes, the government has also channelled funds of RM3 million to the National Athletes Welfare Foundation (Yakeb),” he said, adding that this showed the government’s concern for former national athletes.

Back in August 2018, Yakeb board member Datuk Noorul Ariffin Majeed was reported by New Straits Times as saying that the foundation had already used up the RM3 million allocated to provide aid to 2,400 members and that there were only enough funds left to help those who were previously promised payments.

He reportedly said the foundation needs a minimum of RM3 million annually as the yearly maximum medical allocation for every member is RM20,000, and that Yakeb was awaiting funding from companies and the Youth and Sports Ministry.

Yesterday, Yakeb conducted its first channelling of aid after receiving the injection of RM3 million from the government, by paying a visit to the late former national rugby player Fadhullah Lim Abdullah’s daughter and giving her RM5,000 in aid. 

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