OCM boss urges private sectors to be more involved in sports
Tan Sri Mohamad Norza Zakaria calls for companies to financially help athletes get first Olympic goal
KUALA LUMPUR – The Malaysia Olympics Council (OCM) president Tan Sri Mohamad Norza Zakaria has urged the private sector to help the country ride the challenges of 2023, especially in terms of finance, as it continues its quest to win the first-ever Olympic gold medal at Paris 2024.
He feels that the government’s allocation of RM332 million for training programmes and the development of sports facilities under Budget 2023 is insufficient.
This, he said, was because the national contingent are set for a crucial 2023 as they will be competing in the Cambodia SEA Games from May 5-17, Hangzhou Asian Games in China from September 23 to October 8 and other Paris Olympic qualifying tournaments, which will all need a higher budget allocation.
“The allocation this year is almost the same as in previous years. This is a good ecosystem for national sports, but we must be on par with our competitors’ level of investments if we wish to remain competitive.
“With several multi-sports Games and major tournaments scheduled for 2023, this is worrying because we need a big expenditure, especially to realise our aim of clinching the country’s first gold medal at the Olympic Games,” he said when contacted in Jakarta.
He explained that 2023 would be a vital year, with the SEA Games featuring over 600 events from 37 types of sports, while the national athletes will also have to take part in more international-level competitions compared to 2021 or 2022 as they seek qualifying points and spots for Paris 2024.
Finance Minister Tengku Datuk Seri Zafrul Tengku Abdul Aziz, when tabling Budget 2023 in Parliament today, announced that RM154 million had been allocated for sports development and RM145 million for the maintenance, upgrading and construction of sports facilities nationwide.
He also announced an allocation of RM20 million to provide opportunities for youths to be involved in proper motorsports platforms through the construction of a drag race track; RM13 million for e-sports development; and RM12 million for the development of sports for persons with disabilities.
Meanwhile, Norza also thanked Prime Minister Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob for channelling RM5 million to the National Athletes Welfare Foundation in recognition of former athletes’ contributions to the country.
“Surely the prime minister, who once held the post of youth and sports minister, understands how tough it is to be an athlete and how these former athletes also need assistance for health issues and other problems,” he said.
To cultivate a healthy lifestyle, Tengku Zafrul also announced an allocation of RM15 million for the Agenda Nasional Malaysia Sihat, RM10 million for National Sports Day and Fit Malaysia Tou, as well as tax exemptions for contributions towards the development of sports at the grassroots level.
– Bernama, October 7, 2022