SEPANG: Sports Minister Syed Saddiq Syed Abdul Rahman has stressed that the RM1 billion allocated to his ministry under the 2019 budget will be put to good use through a leaner and meaner Podium Programme and also for other new initiatives.
Saddiq was pleased with the allocation given to sports, of which RM100 million will be spent on athletes for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics and RM10 million on the development of eSports.
"It (budget) is a big boost and recognition (for Malaysian athletes), not just our Olympians but our Paralympians as well who have already contributed gold medals to the country while we continue to search for our first Olympic gold," said Saddiq in a press conference at the Sepang Circuit today.
"We recently restructured the Podium Programme to ensure it is more lean and focused. It is now tier based and performance oriented where athletes receive different levels of privileges and assistance in each tier.
"It, however, utilises a revolving door system where athletes can move from tier to tier depending on their level of performance."
As previously reported, Tier 1 will be for those seen as having the potential to win medals at the Olympics, Tier 2 for athletes who have the potential to win Asian and Commonwealth Games medals, Tier 3 for those who can win Sea Games medals and Tier 4 for those who compete in World Championships that do not fall within the first three categories.
Saddiq added that the announcement on the RM10 million allocated to eSports has already impacted the sport in a positive way.
"It (eSports) is a very interesting field and a new field for Malaysia," added Saddiq.
"We want to position Malaysia as an eSports hub (for Asia) and we are very close to getting there.
"When the government allocated RM10 million to eSports (yesterday) we immediately received a message from the CEO and founder of Razer (Tan Min Liang) who said he will also co-invest RM10 million as well into eSport in addition to a few other investors following suit after them.
"In a way you know that the industry is moving in the right direction when private sector themselves are willing to invest."
Saddiq added that his ministry will also be looking at developing the ancillary industry for eSports.