PUTRAJAYA, May 30 — The Youth and Sports Ministry said today it has formed a high-level committee (HLC) that will be led by Datuk Seri Ahmad Zahid Hamidi to boost the efforts for national grassroots development, particularly for swimming, martial arts, and track and field.
After chairing the Sports Development Cabinet Committee Meeting, the deputy prime minister said that the HLC will involve a few ministries including Higher Education, Education, Defence, and Home Ministries.
“The role of this meeting is to coordinate and streamline the delivery system of initiatives and sports development programs. It includes strengthening the cooperation of various sectors to achieve the goal of making Malaysia a sporting nation.
“In order to ensure that the country does not fall behind and keep pace with countries that have advanced sports development, a highest level committee (HLC) was created chaired by DPM to lead the Development of High-Performance Sports Talents which aims to reform sports,” he said at the Prime Minister’s Department here.
Explaining further, Youth and Sports Minister Hannah Yeoh said that the reason why the three sports are being prioritised by the government is because those athletes have flourished in previous tournaments while representing the country.
She also said that the ministry has invited government-linked companies (GLC) to invest in funding the programmes to support the development of the national athletes.
“The government is also alert to the increasing costs and health bills of civil servants. Therefore, the government will offer a preventive measure which means that all ministries need to allocate time for government employees to carry out sports and leisure activities every week,” she added.
Further commenting on the role of the committee, Ahmad Zahid hopes that the platform will be used to discuss sports development with inclusive initiatives to build a healthy society.
“The planning and implementation of related initiatives require the cooperation of all stakeholders in achieving the government's wishes as outlined in the National Sports Policy (DSN) and the National Sports Vision 2030 (VSN2030),” he said.
Recently, the Malaysian contingent returned home from the 2023 Cambodia SEA Games with 34 gold, 45 silver and 97 bronze after finishing in seventh position overall, lagging behind Cambodia, the Philippines and even Singapore.
The achievement was regarded as the worst in the history of the Malaysian contingent’s participation in the SEA Games after the 31-gold medal achievement during the 1995 Chiangmai SEA Games hosted by Thailand.
Last year, the Malaysian contingent collected 39 gold medals to finish in sixth position during the 2021 Vietnam SEA Games which was eventually held last year due to the Covid-19 pandemic.