Youth and Sports Ministry to focus on athletes under RTG- Hannah Yeoh 

KUALA LUMPUR: Now that Lee Zii Jia has decided not to join the Road to Gold (RTG) Olympic programme, the Youth and Sports Ministry will be focusing on athletes who are onboard with the programme. 

Minister Hannah Yeoh said she did her best to help the shuttler be a part of RTG, alongside other athletes. 

"But, he decided not to join the RTG programme. However, it does not mean that we are not going to help him, it is just that he is not in the RTG programme. 

"We must acknowledge that he is an independent player and this is the direction that he chose (by not joining the programme)," she said when met after the launch of the Free Milk Project at Masjid Al-Hidayah in Kampung Sungai Penchala today.

Not wanting to prolong the issue, despite criticism levelled against her and the ministry by some of the shuttler's supporters, Yeoh said she believed Lee had all the support he needed from his team.

"What I want to focus now is on athletes who have given their commitment and signed under the programme, helping them get the (gold) medals."

Lee's supporters have come together to slam Yeoh and the RTG programme on social media after the world No. 11 shuttler decided to not join it.

On Tuesday, at the end of a two-week deadline given to him to sign the Letter of Commitment (LOC), the former All-England champion turned down the offer.

Yeoh had, since then, said no athlete can be forced into signing the LOC, and it is within their rights to turn down the offer.

The RTG is an elite preparation programme intended to provide top athletes with the additional support to challenge for gold at the Paris Olympics next year, the 2028 Los Angeles Games and other major international competitions.

In addition to sports science, competition exposure and coaching support, athletes under RTG also receive an allowance of RM3,000 a month.

Meanwhile, on the Free Milk Project, the Segambut member of Parliament said the programme was in collaboration with the Korean Society Malaysia. 

The project, Yeoh said was a joint community initiative aimed at fostering healthy growth for children and ensuring that no child goes hungry. 

She said a total of 300 children, aged six and below, from three locations under the Segambut constituency were identified to receive three packs of milk every week.

The three locations are Kampung Sungai Penchala, Taman Sejahtera and Kampung Segambut Dalam. 

"Like here, the Masjid Al-Hidayah committee helped us to identify the children. 

"Each of them is given a code to redeem the milk, supplied by Farm Fresh Bhd, using a vending machine by Allegra Technology placed at the mosque.

"With the code, only the rightful family can come and claim their share," she said adding that the Korean Society Malaysia donated RM65,000 for the project. 

Yeoh said through the project, children from the B40 group, will now have access to nutritional milk. 

"We will monitor the progress and see if it can be further expanded in other areas within the constituency."

Present at the event were the South Korean Embassy consul-general Chung Suk Kyoon, Korean Society Malaysia chairman Kim Jong Hwa, Allegra Technology managing director Chow Ka Mun, Farm Fresh Bhd Brand and Marketing head Charmaine Chow and Masjid Al-Hidayah deputy chairman Azlan Johari. 

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