KUALA LUMPUR: The idea of bringing back the Formula One (F1) Grand Prix to Malaysia has stirred debate among social media users.
While some agreed that it could benefit the country, others opined that it is best if the government focused on improving the lives of the people first.
Joe Anwar, commenting on BH Online Facebook page, said: “Many people have lost their jobs as the government wants to reduce cost… but to host F1, which will cost millions is okay? Hmmm.”
Another user, Sarip Boss, wrote; “This is not in Pakatan Harapan’s 100 days manifesto promise. You said that Malaysia’s debt is RM1 trillion. How much will it cost to host the F1?”
Facebook user Abdul Hadi said: “Instead of using the money to host the F1, it is better to help the B40 group, which is more crucial.”
Dean Lau A said: “There is no point in bringing the F1 back if promoters and others do not know how to make money out of it. Malaysia is not a fine destination for F1.”
Another user, Albakri Hashim Bazir, said: “It will be such a waste of money. It is a rich man’s hobby. About 95 per cent of the population don’t watch the F1 race and cannot afford the tickets.”
Former Youth and Sports Minister Khairy Jamaluddin, on Twitter, also voiced his disagreement with bringing back the F1 races to Malaysia.
“The cost to host F1 is more than RM200 million annually, with almost all borne by the government.
“You say that we do not have money, hence we must be prudent.
“Allowances for national athletes also are being cut and sports science staff did not get their contracts renewed.
“Yet, you still want to have F1 again. So, no to the F1,” he tweeted.
However, there are some who agreed to have F1 back, provided that ticket prices are more affordable.
Azmil Aziz said: “I agree with the move, but I hope that the ticket prices will be cheaper so that more Malaysians can watch the race, please.”
Fauziah Majid said: “By hosting F1, it will help generate our country’s income as more visitors will spend their money here. F1 could help to boost the country’s economy. Just pray for the best and don’t be so negative.”
On Tuesday, Dr Mahathir, in his brief speech after receiving the Lifetime Achievement Award at the Petronas SIC Motorsports Association of Malaysia Awards 2018, expressed his hope to have the F1 races back in the country.
Dr Mahathir said that Sepang International Circuit (SIC), which was completed in 1999, has brought many benefits to Malaysia and he is hoping to see F1 — the pinnacle of four-wheeled motor racing — making a return.
In August last year, Youth and Sports Minister Syed Saddiq Syed Abdul Rahman said F1 will not be making a return to the country as organising the race is just too costly.
He said the government is planning to focus on motorcycle racing instead, in line with the desire to transform SIC into the country’s motorsports hub and a motorsports city.