There has not been any emphasis on sports development in most of the political parties’ manifestos, said local sports analyst Mohd Sadek Mustaffa.
This goes to show that whoever takes over the helm next puts the Malaysian dream of achieving its first Olympic gold medal on the backburner, he added.
“A lot of the parties’ manifestos are about solving the problems experienced by the B40 group, addressing food supply shortage, and economic recovery,” Sadek said.
“Those are all fine, but parties like Barisan Nasional, Perikatan Nasional, Pakatan Harapan, and many more have only talked about the economy, B40 benefits, workers’ well-being, and food deficit, while nothing about sports development.
“Have they forgotten that the sports industry is also an effective tool in driving social and economic stability? It simultaneously develops our economy and encourages youth participation through sporting events.”
Sadek, also a Universiti Teknologi Mara senior sports science lecturer, noted that many politicians still see sports only as games instead of an economic tool.
He cited that many advanced countries put sports as one of their main pillars in contributing revenue to their respective nations.
“Even during the previous general election, there was no mention of sports development or goal to achieve the country’s first Olympic gold medal.
“It is clear that political parties do not see the sports industry as an important tool for the country’s economic growth.
“We can keep dreaming.”
However, Sadek said he noticed that only one coalition – Gabungan Parti Sarawak – mentioned its vision for sports.
Its manifesto promises to “develop the sports industry to produce a healthy community and distinguished sports champions”.
Sadek added that when Malaysia hosted the 2017 SEA Games, then youth and sports minister Khairy Jamaluddin successfully obtained a sports budget of around RM1 billion, of which a huge portion of it was used for the games.
Comparing that sum to how much was allocated to the sports industry this time around – RM374 million according to the 2023 budget – he quipped that the allocation “was a joke”. – The Vibes, November 11, 2022