KUALA LUMPUR, Nov 28 — The Youth and Sports Ministry (KBS) will improve the Elite Sports Podium (Podium) programme to boost the quality and performance of national athletes, its deputy minister Adam Adli Abdul Halim said.

He added that although the national squad has yet to achieve the targets set through this programme, there was no need to halt the programme as it was important for high-performance athletes to receive assistance, training, funds or allocations for them to compete comfortably.

The improvements being considered include training, knowledge exchange, coaching and facilities, he said.

“The allocation provided by the government under the Budget 2024 for the Podium programme will be increased so that we can improve the performance and achievements of our athletes,” he told reporters at the signing of a memorandum of understanding (MoU) between AEON Malaysia Foundation and KBS here today.

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The 2022 Auditor-General’s Report had reported that the main objective of the Podium programme launched on Feb 2, 2016 to bring home an Olympic gold medal, has yet to be achieved and that its output achievement under the National Sports Council (NSC) was unsatisfactory as two of its five targets was not achieved, and its effective achievement was also unsatisfactory as two of its four goals was not achieved, while another one goal was yet to be achieved.

The report did however state that the Podium programme under the National Sports Institute (ISN) Was good as it achieved the medal target at three main sports events.

Adam Adli also said that athletes under the Road to Gold (RTG) programme identified as having the potential of winning the country’s first Olympic gold medal will receive extra funding.

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He also said that even though the Kelantan state government expressed its intention to meet with KBS and the NSC and discuss Syariah-compliant sports attire guidelines for the 2028 Malaysia Games (Sukma) that will be organised by the state, such a discussion has yet to happen.

“... (the discussion) will definitely be held as the Sukma organising committee has to contact and plan everything with the state government, so it’s a normal process.

“The question of attire compliance and also matters under the provision of the state enactment will be implemented in line with what we view as state-federal cooperation, we understand there are several matters we need to fine-tune and we will come with decisions we have made after the committee meets,” he said.

Meanwhile, regarding the MoU signed today, the AEON Malaysia Foundation has also donated 70 used motorcycles to the KBS Youth Skill Development Division to help selected B40 students to undergo skill training at Youth Skill Training Institutes (ILKBS) throughout the country.

The scope of cooperation between AEON and the ministry under the MoU include preparing industrial training or On-Job Training housing, job opportunities for ILKBS students, advisory assistance, participation in ILKBS Career Fest programmes and other donations, including training, equipment, maintenance and expertise. — Bernama