KUALA LUMPUR, June 13 — The Youth and Sports Ministry (KBS) is in discussions with local authorities to make sports facilities more accessible to the public.

Its minister, Hannah Yeoh said discussions include the reduction of licensing fees for gymnasiums, e-sports and snooker centres, which are currently higher compared to those for fast food restaurants.

She said engagement sessions had been held with the Housing and Local Government Minister Nga Kor Ming, Kuala Lumpur City Hall (DBKL) and 12 local councils in Selangor to discuss the matter.

“The next step for them is to look into amending the bylaws to reflect the current sports scenario. We now have 103 gazetted sports, which is double the amount from last year, and sports are evolving.

“In the past, e-sports was not considered a sport and was associated with gaming and cybercafes. Now, it is a sport that brings home medals for Malaysia. E-sports centres were known as cybercafes in the 90s and were charged commercial rates.

“Another example is snooker. It is a gazetted sport but still falls under entertainment in the bylaws,” she told reporters after attending Boomers2Gamers, an e-sports competition for senior citizens here today.

Hannah also highlighted the ministry’s efforts to promote sports among senior citizens, aiming to dispel stereotypes and encourage them to explore new activities for post-retirement health.

She said as local authorities expand public access to facilities, they should consider waiving entrance fees for senior citizens and persons with disabilities.

“The next stage would be accessibility, not just promoting awareness. How can senior citizens with no more income pay for the rental of a court? If you want them to participate, the ecosystem must now make it affordable.

“KBS will definitely be engaging with different ministries, such as the Communication Ministry and Digital Ministry, to see how we can really empower people across Malaysia. We are at the initial stage now,” she added.

Earlier, Hannah launched Malaysia’s first senior e-sports team, known as Team eMas, consists of Nahar Ludhfi Johari, Lim Ai Peng, Johan Arifin, Yap Kok Hin, Ahmad Zamzuri Sapuan and Linda Tee — all aged 50 and above. — Bernama