The Malaysian Reserve

Syed Saddiq pledges to depoliticise sports, find solutions to youth issues

Syed Saddiq (centre) with his deputy Sim (left) on their 1st day of office at the ministry yesterday. also present is KBs secretary general Datuk Lokman hakim Ali

He also pledges for e-sports to be brought mainstream and physical education in schools to be revived

By RAHIMI YUNUS / Pic By BERNAMA

Sports and youth organisations in the country will be freed from the clutches of political influence which had been for decades dragging the flourishment and development of these two key social agendas.

The new Youth and Sports (KBS) Minister Syed Saddiq Syed Abdul Rahman said he aims at depoliticising sports and finding solutions to issues close to youth in the country, such as affordable housing, cost of living and job opportunities.

On youth agenda, Syed Saddiq described KBS as a “bridge” to other ministries and plans to work closely with them on these issues.

On sports, the Muar MP said the ministry will provide sports communities and stakeholders with a wider space to determine their future, instead of being influenced by political interference.

“We will be having dialogues, dis- cuss with sports technocrats on policies and ensure those who drive the sports, including associations, can determine their future, not by political hands or people with personal interests,” Syed Saddiq said in Putrajaya yesterday.

He also pledged for e-sports to be brought mainstream, with more infrastructure and talents to be developed.

Syed Saddiq intends to revive physical education in schools to make Malaysia a sporting nation. He added that ongoing programmes that are beneficial for the nation such as Hari Sukan Negara, Fit Malaysia and Perdana Fellowship will be continued, but they will be subjected under review on key performance indicators and cost for improvement. Commenting on the previous RM100 million scandal involving the ministry’s officials, Syed Saddiq said previous wrongdoings will be investigated.

“But we do not want the new administration to be coloured by revenge,” he explained.

Former Minister Khairy Jamaluddin and the then-deputy Datuk Seri M Saravanan were present at the ministry’s office for a handover of duties ceremony to Syed Saddiq and his deputy Steven Sim Chee Keong.

“I am confident with the capacity and capabilities of Syed Saddiq,” Khairy said. In response, Syed Saddiq, who creates history for being the youngest minister at 26, said he has “big shoes to fill” as Khairy has left a good legacy in the ministry.

Syed Saddiq won the Muar parliamentary constituency in the 14th General Election before being appointed as a full minister under Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad’s administration.

Before venturing into politics, Syed Saddiq rose to popularity through his success in the debating arena, where he was crowned as Asia’s Best Speaker at the Asian British Parliamentary Debating Championship.