Hannah Yeoh 'whispers' to Anwar on sports budget

KUALA LUMPUR: Youth and Sports Minister Hannah Yeoh claimed that she has "whispered" to Prime Minister Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim to not cut sports funding for the 2023 Budget.

But can the sports fraternity expect changes when the budget is tabled in the Parliament today?

Many national sports associations (NSA) have been hoping for government funding, and any cut in financial support could have a devastating impact on Malaysian sports.

Olympic Council of Malaysia president Tan Sri Norza Zakaria had previously called for the creation of a Sports Unity Tax to encourage contributions to sports from private companies or individuals. This will also reduce the strain on government coffers.

While most NSAs are hoping for cash injections, other industry players are looking at other avenues for financial support.

Malaysian UCI Continental cycling - Team Sapura Cycling (TSC)

sports director Sayuti Zahit hopes the sports industry, including the professional setup, is considered as well in the budget.

He added that while it is good to get cash from the government, he prefers the sports industry to be given the recognition and tools to move forward independently.

"The NSAs will get funding under the budget from the government, but for professional teams like us, we often end up with nothing. It would be good if we can get some funding, but we prefer the government come up with mechanisms to facilitate or ease our approach for sponsorships," said Sayuti.

"TSC get support from Sapura and we are grateful to them. We have achieved plenty of success, but for us or any other professional sports outfits to reach the next level, we need more help.

"We are willing to show our audited accounts and share our plans and profile to sponsors but the issue is we could not even reach the corporate sides. Our approaches for even meetings get turned down or ignored.

"Maybe if there's support or endorsement from the Sports Ministry for setups like us to approach sponsors, it would be helpful. We have our track records and achievements, we just need a platform to approach sponsors or partners, it doesn't matter if they are private entities or government-linked."

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