Monday, 24 October 2011

Your 10 Questions with Datuk Seri Shabery Cheek - THE STAR

Youth and Sports Minister Datuk Seri Shabery Cheek answers your 10 questions.

How competitive is sports nowadays compared to the past and how true is S-P-O-R-T-S the acronym for Sportsmanship Produces Outstanding Results through Sacrifices ?

Bernard Gideon Lim, Penang
It is difficult to compare the competitiveness between different eras. However, what is clear today is the fact that our athletes are trained under an amateur system, while competing in a professional environment internationally. We are not competing on a level playing field.

That's why the ministry is looking at sports in a new perspective, sports as an industry. We are formulating strategies to turn sports into a market-driven and sustainable economic sector. This is in line with the Government's overall Economic Transformation Plan to turn Malaysia into a high income nation.

What is the next big thing after the Seribu Peluang, Sejuta Keriangan youth gathering in Putrajaya? Daphne Ho, Kuala Pilah

The success of Himpunan Sejuta Belia gathering in Putrajaya this year was because of the overwhelming participating of youth from all over Malaysia. Himpunan Sejuta Belia provides the platform or opportunity for youths to show their talent, skills, creativity and also the embedded energy they have in various activities. The Himpunan Sejuta Belia is a new format of the national youth gathering, where it is planed, organised, and participated by the youth for the youth.

Next year the Youth and Sports Ministry will be hosting Himpunan Jutaan Belia Putrajaya Mei 2012 which would be held from May 2327, 2012, where once again the whole of Putrajaya will be converted into a stage for youths to participate and be involved in more than 500 programmes and activities. The ministry aims to gather 2 million youths in the 5-day event in Putrajaya, and let them organise and participate in the events and display their talent, creativity and energy.

Should youths be more involved in politics? Ahmad Termizi, Nilai

The term, politics, has so many negative connotations attached to it so perhaps real and positive involvement will start with greater awareness of politics as it should be rather than how it actually is.

Youths must take an interest in politics as they are an integral part of society. It is important for youths to know the manner in which they are governed. In fact, politics is a concern for the better of common people. So, in a way youths who have knowledge of politics become more conscious of their duties towards society at large as politics is a key component in their everyday lives.

That's why, the Government has announced its plan to create “Youth Parliament”. This initiative is to give youths, who represent the future of their countries, the opportunity to express the unique issues that affect their age group. This is also to train them to be leaders of tomorrow.

What does the ministry plan to do to improve sports at the grassroots level as well as sports for the public in general in the next five years? Azni Iffah Aziz, KL

The Youth and Sports Ministry have a strategic plan to promote sports-for-all culture among Malaysians. The strategic plan is about making it a habit, lifestyle and culture for Malaysians to play sports at all levels. It includes making Malaysia an activity centre for a variety of sport events, increasing community participation, nurturing leadership and encouraging volunteerswhile maximising the use of the existing infrastructure and sport facilities. The ministry is also consolidating all data related to sport activities organised by all parties at every level including those by NGOs and clubs in Malaysia.

What are the ministry's plans to support local young entrepreneurs in the sports business? Faiz Karim, Petaling Jaya

At the moment, ministry don't have any specific plan for young entrepreneurs. In regards to the sport industry, ministry will create awareness through campaigns and programmes such as Malaysia Sport Trade and Golf Expo and Malaysia Sports Industry Convention from 27-30 Oct 2011. This hopefully will increase awareness among young entrepreneur.

The ministry will also utilise existing structure such as relevant government agencies, for example Malaysia External Trade Development Corp, International Trade and Industry Ministry, Trade Co-operative and Consumerism Ministry, NGOs, chambers of commerce and other business network to support the development of young entrepreneurs. The ministry will facilitate and create links between young entrepreneurs and established companies. This hopefully will help young entrepreneurs set up their own businesses.

There were cases in the last two to three years involving sexual harassment and breach of contracts in the industry. How will the ministry curb such incidents? Gerard Teoh, Seremban

Malaysia has sufficient laws including the penal code to curb incidents like sexual harassment and breach of contract. If any of it happens I believe the government will enforce relevant laws to protect the people or relevant parties.

How important is the role of the sports medicine and sports science in today's competitive arena? Tina Lim, Kuching

The role of sports medicine and sports science is a key and critical component of an athlete's performance in modern sport. All modern, elite high-performing athletes require the direct contributions of sports medicine and sports science practitioners.

Sport-specific healthcare and injury management offered by sport-medicine specialist doctors, physiotherapists, masseurs, etc will ensure that the athlete is in optimal health and performing unencumbered by injury. Optimisation of their performance is supported by expert staff in physical conditioning, nutrition and mental training, which are the core performance components, coupled with the testing modalities of physiology and biomechanics plus performance analysis and sports technology support.

The National Sports Institute of Malaysia works directly with the national coaches to work out periodic training plans for each sport, implement the sports science and medical support, incorporating all the above components and monitor the progress of the athletes' performance parameters. This aids the coach in making any changes required by the test and monitoring data.

What are the ministry's strategies in promoting the sports culture among Malaysians? Adrian Chan, Cheras

The ministry is now promoting the 3As concept, which is Awareness, Accessibility and Affordability, in enhancing sport culture among Malaysians. The 3As concept can help increase community participation in sports for all, extreme sports and traditional sports. It would also enhance relations and smart partnerships with the corporate sector in sports development.

Through the concept we hope to establish, recognise and help increase the number of sports associations and also provide the infrastructure and sports facilities.

Do you think our athletes are fairly compensated for their contribution to the country? Suresh Kumar, Ipoh

Malaysia is currently operating in the amateur system of sports while competing in an environment of professional sports. Under this system, the Government is spending on every aspect of sports from facility provision to coaching, training, sports medicine, salaries for athletes, competitions, through to travelling and accommodation of our athletes.

Under this amateur system our athletes will never be as fairly compensated as they would be under the professional system like in the United States.

That is why the ministry has embarked on a sports industry, whereby sports in Malaysia will be driven by the private sector and be economically sustainable. In this case, they will be less reliant on government funding as they secure private sector support. We are working towards having market driven funding in a professional sport environment. By achieving this, I believe not only will our athletes be well compensated, sports itself will be a major industry contributing gold medals and promoting major economic activity.

How does the ministry financially support retiring athletes? Ambha Singh, KL 

At the moment, we do not financially support retiring athletes except those who win medals at the Olympic level.

Under the Olympic Reward Scheme NSC, any athlete who wins a gold, silver or bronze medal in the Olympics will be given a monthly pension of RM5,000, RM3,000 and RM2,000 respectively. The pension will commence from the date these athletes win the medals and for the duration of their life.

The Government has also set up Yakeb which was formed in 2007 to assist the needs of athletes especially of those who have retired. These include giving financial support, medical assistance and subsidies for those in need, and helping athletes secure a career path.


Saturday October 22, 2011

No comments: