KUALA LUMPUR: The Federation of Chinese Associations Malaysia (Huazong) has urged the government through the National Sports Council (NSC) to review its decision of cutting the monthly allowances for national athletes, and to boost their allowances within its financial affordability.
Its President, Tan Sri T.C Goh said this is necessary, so that our national athletes could fully concentrate on their training without worries, and in return boosting the standard of our national sports and our ‘soft power’ as a nation.
He also described the government’s explanation that the restructuring of allowance was being carried out following the current state of the country’s economy which was affected by the Covid-19 pandemic as well as the natural disaster that hit the country recently, as unconvincing. He cited as the matter of fact that, many national athletes were affected by the pandemic, and the recent massive floodd, probably.
He opined that the government should not adopt a ‘one-size-fits-all’ approach when dealing with our national athletes, especially not by cutting their monthly allowances.
He was responding to the announcement by NSC director-general Datuk Ahmad Shapawi Ismail on Wednesday (January 4), that the Council is reviewing the allowances of national athletes who have been given new contracts to undergo training programmes this year based on their performance since 2018.
Shapawi also explained that the restructuring of allowance was being carried out in view of the current state of the country’s economy affected by the Covid-19 pandemic, as well as the natural disaster that hit the country recently.
While expressing regret over the said move, Goh also hoped that it would not result in a ‘great loss’ to the government and NSC, after this.
He hoped the government could understand the importance of sports development to a country, especially towards boosting its global image and ‘soft power’.
He thus supported the call by Deputy Youth and Sports Minister Datuk Seri Ti Lian Ker, urging the NSC to review the setting of monthly allowances for national athletes under their programmes for this year, on a case-by-case basis.
Goh reiterated that the government should be more considerate to our national athletes when making such a move, especially in the case of those full-time athletes who do not have other sources of income who too were affected by the pandemic, and probably the recent floods too.
“Not only the government should not reduce their monthly allowances, but to give them a boost, if necessary,” he said.
Goh who is also President of the Federation of Chinese Associations Sabah (FCAS) believed if the government were to proceed with the proposed reduction of monthly allowances, it would inevitably inflict financial hardship to our national athletes.
He also reminded that the government had always assured that our financial position is still sound and is sufficient to deal with the pandemic and any natural disaster. He thus opined that the government should come out with better solutions to address whatever issues there are, instead of resorting to cutting the monthly allowances of our national athletes.
Meanwhile, Goh also urged the government to continue to pay due attention to national athletes whose contract has been discontinued, and to assist them to live a dignified life, or even make arrangements for them to continue to serve the country in a different position/role, such as engaging them as the coach or assistant coach to help nurture our young athletes in their respective fields.