PUTRAJAYA, Feb 23 — Good news for the country’s athletes – the Cabinet today approved an allocation of RM240 million for another lease of the Podium Programme from 2022-2025.
Youth and Sports Minister Datuk Seri Ahmad Faizal Azumu, when announcing the matter, said he was confident the allocation of RM60 million a year will help prepare the national contingent to face several major games starting this year, thus enhancing national sports excellence.
Among major games slated during the period are the Hanoi SEA Games (May 12 – May 23, 2022), the Birmingham Commonwealth Games (July 28 – August 8, 2022), the Hangzhou Asian Games (September 10 – September 25, 2022) and Asian Para Games (October 9 – October 15, 2022) and the Paris Olympics Games and Paralympics in 2024.
Ahmad Faizal said several athletes who were dropped from the Podium Programme or whose contracts were not renewed due to budget constraints earlier this year, will be offered new contracts if they still had the potential to contribute medals.
“The Cabinet has also agreed that new (stricter) programme details be created for the Podium Programme using the development expenditure under the 12th Malaysia Plan (12MP). The proposal on this will be submitted to the Economic Planning Unit, Prime Minister’s Office,” he told a press conference at Menara KBS here today.
Ahmad Faizal said the ministry’s top leadership would discuss with the National Sports Council (NSC) the expenditure plan, among others, proposals on specific sports that have great medal potential at the major games.
The Ministry of Youth and Sports (KBS) and the NSC previously had to reduce the number of athletes in the Podium Programme after it did not receive an allocation in the 2022 Budget tabled in the Dewan Rakyat last October.
Meanwhile, Ahmad Faizal also confirmed that the Cabinet has also approved the organising of the Malaysia Games (Sukma) and Para Sukma 2022 in the Federal Territory of Kuala Lumpur through the concept of a sports bubble.
He said the organising of Sukma and Para Sukma should be continued so that a pool of state talent is maintained to replace those at the national level in future.
With an expected participation of 12,000 people in this edition, Ahmad Faizal said there would be two phases for Sukma and Para Sukma to limit the number of athletes and officials involved at each time.
“The cost of organising the two games is estimated to be RM35 million to RM40 million … and will use the existing facilities of the 2017 SEA Games as well as KBS and government facilities.
“Other details such as the dates and number of sports events will be decided at the Sukma Supreme Committee meeting later. We expect these games to be held by mid-year or the second half of this year.. because the 2022 calendar is packed with major sports games,” he explained.
After the last Sukma Games in Perak in 2018, Sukma 2020 which was supposed to be held in Johor had to be postponed several times due to the COVID-19 pandemic, until the Sukma Supreme Committee in October 2021 finally agreed to postpone the Johor Sukma until 2024, and decided that NSC will organise Sukma and Para Sukma 2020 in Kuala Lumpur this year.