KUALA LUMPUR, Oct 11 (Bernama) — Investing to ensure sustainability and continuity of sports talent at the school level is a good move by the government to transform Malaysia into a sporting nation.
Malaysian Athletics Federation (MAF) president Datuk Zainal Abidin Ahmad said the RM103 million allocation for sports development in Budget 2015 tabled by Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak on Friday had a different emphasis from previous budgets.
The funds will be channeled towards sports development through the Malaysian Talent Identification programme, as well as improving the quality of high-performance sports for six fields in the first phase namely soccer, cycling, badminton, sepak takraw, swimming and athletics.
“This time we see the government is more serious in developing sports from the grassroots in transforming sports in the country. Previously, allocations were for big sporting events, but it is different this time.
“Identifying new talent starts in primary schools. This effort can inject a new spirit in students to excel in their studies and also sports. We don’t want our talent to only be good during the Malaysia Games and then disappear,” he said when contacted by Bernama.
Zainal said besides focusing on the grassroots level, the government should also look at sporting infrastructure and facilities which require upgrading.
He said to expedite these efforts, the private sector should also help if they do not want Malaysia to fall behind in sports at the international level.