Questions raised over athletes’ allowance cuts

by FAYYADH JAAFAR / pic by TMR FILE

THE Youth and Sports Ministry (KBS) has been criticised for its decision to cut athletes’ allowances from RM2,000 to RM800.

Malaysia’s International Trade Union Network Council (UNI-MLC) said the ministry must immediately return to the previous allowance rate, adding that the excuse that there were not enough financial funds was unacceptable.

UNI-MLC president Datuk Mohamed Shafie BP Mammal (picture) said KBS’ present focus and strategy are misguided.

“The excuse that there are not enough financial funds is not acceptable at all if we really want to focus on the athlete development plan.

“Is KBS aware that the current crisis has not only affected the reputation of athletes but also that of the ministry, which is entrusted to develop athletes who are the country’s assets?” he said in a statement yesterday, adding that using the flood disaster as an excuse to cut allowances was inappropriate.

Mohamed Shafie said sports are one of the fields that require long-term and large investment and management to produce a line of champions at the national, regional, and world levels.

“UNI-MLC wants Prime Minister (PM) Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob to give a firm directive for KBS to review the cutting of athletes’ allowances and dropping athletes.

“The PM needs to put sports development back on track, and it should not be in conflict with the goals of the 12th Malaysia Plan tabled last year,” he said, expressing UNI-MLC’s concern about the future of sports and athletes in the country.

“We do not want KBS to be the cause of the decline and collapse of sports due to short-term remedial actions like cutting allowances and dropping athletes, which has directly dampened people’s motivation and enthusiasm to participate in sports.

“The ministry needs to be serious if it really wants to raise the image, quality and performance of sports,” Mohamed Shafie said.

Pejuang Muda’s exco of sports, Ahmad Nur Aliff, echoed the same sentiments, saying that the ministry’s decision was not only affecting athletes but also the country’s reputation.

“Our full-time athletes have spent so much time and energy on training and overcoming challenges with high discipline to win every competition.

“They also have their own responsibilities and commitments, which must be paid off,” he said.

He added that the government must take this matter seriously.

“The government should be aware that these full-time athletes also have no salaries or other incentives paid by any other body.

“Therefore, Pejuang Muda urges the government, through KBS and the National Sports Council, to return the original allowance that was allocated to full-time athletes and to safeguard the welfare of our country’s athletes,” he concluded, emphasising that athletes are assets of the country.