Syed Saddiq's New Year resolution — Razali Azman

DEC 25 — It has been a bad month for the Ministry of Youth and Sports.

In response to the brickbats incurred after to the dissapointing SEA Games 2019 performance by the Malaysian contingent, Syed Saddiq gave various reasons on the contingents failure to meet the mark.

He was quoted as saying over-confidence on parts of the athletic associations and on part of the contingent as being key contributing factors towards their SEA Games performance.

Among the greater concerns posed by athletes since PH took power was that sources of funding have become increasingly scarce - with many in government saying that hard times require hard sacrifices.

It is surprising then that it was revealed by a now taken-down report by Malaysiakini that over 40% of the budget allocated for the Ministry of Youth and Sports remains unspent. According to the report, nearly RM 189.2 million was left unspent as of early November 2019.

While Syed Saddiq responded that the report cited outdated data and that over 99.4% of his ministry’s budget has been allocated - questions do remain.

What program is worth over 60% of the ministry’s budget? Does it benefit our athletes?

Adding salt to the wound is the comments made by Bersatu political appointee, Yaakob Osman who serves as the corporate communications lead for the Ministry of Youth and Sports.

In a Facebook post, he dismissed the concerns raised by athletes in the aftermath of the SEA Games – accusing them of being whiners and overly demanding despite the difficult circumstances that the entire sporting scene currently faces.

As we enter 2020, the precedent set by the Syed Saddiq-led KBS is concerning. It unfortunately continues to represent many things that were wrong with “Malaysia Lama” – cronyism, entitlement and “elitism” to name a few.

Let’s not also forget the mysterious developments behind his Youth Power Club initiative – whose access to 222 across Malaysia would be helpful for Syed Saddiq’s burgeoning political ambitions.

The proposed scale of the YPC itself is staggering, across 222 constituencies all over Malaysia, backed by an impressive initial budget. On the contrary, the MYC is just that – a council.

KBS’ lack of transparency on the funding mechanism for the YPCs through private corporations is also worrying. The lack of communication on the proposed structure and funding mechanism of the YPCs should also be a point of concern for Malaysians.

How will the funds be allocated? Will there be a hierarchy of which kinds of organisations that will be given more attention by KBS?

It seems that KBS under Syed Saddiq has become a vehicle that is singularly concerned over their own relevance instead of serving the needs to their stakeholders.

On top of that, they seem unashamed of utilizing patronage politics, which while always been in the fabric of the Malaysian political scene, it is certainly something that many Malaysians thought would have been swept away after 9 May 2018. 

First thing that needs to happen is to the end of stonewalling of athletes and youth NGOs regardless of background – actions speak louder than words.

Secondly, Syed Saddiq needs to stick to his youth manifesto as Pakatan Youth Chief and to the values of transparency and accountability.

Thirdly, he needs to start producing frameworks that truly support our athletes and coaches beyond the current paradigm – the tier system or its replacement needs to provide equitable outcomes for all kinds of sports.

There is an opportunity for truth and reconciliation Syed Saddiq. For the sake of our youth, it is high-time to walk the talk.

* This is the personal opinion of the writer or publication and does not necessarily represent the views of Malay Mail.


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