As the Minister of Sports, I get the pleasure and privilege of working in an area that is close to the heart of many Malaysians. At the same time I recognise that I will also be judged frequently, on the performance of our country’s athletes, what medals are won for example, at the Asian, Commonwealth, SEA or even the Olympic Games.
I am determined, that my work in sports, must have a lasting impact, covering a wider scope of those involved in sports – something that perhaps will only come to fruition after I leave the job. I want to build a base that will give my country, athletes that Malaysians can look up to for generations to come.
To do this, Malaysia’s current sporting success has to be underpinned by an emphasis on developing the next Lee Chong Wei and Nicol David – as many as possible for a broad number of sports. The bedrock of that is not what people watch on television or read about in the back pages but what will happen in our schools and training academies.
In that belief, talent identification and development programmes under my Ministry are given prominence. These include testing students as young as seven years old to see if they have special physical attributes that will pave the way to a future in sport.
Inclusivity is also something I consider a core tenet of the Ministry. The importance of unity to any a nation cannot be stressed enough and there are very few things that unite Malaysians the way sports can. When we watch Pandalela Rinong or Harimau Muda, it doesn’t matter what ethnicity or religion or socio-economic background you come from. We’re one when we cheer them on to victory.
Inclusivity also comes in other forms – by ensuring that groups who usually get less attention than others also have opportunities to get involved in sports. I believe in sports for all. Focus will be given to physically and mentally-challenged athletes so that they’ll be able to take part in sports. Families from lower-income households will also be given more opportunities.
From time to time, there will be updates on initiatives and activities to provide opportunities for people to work with my Ministry and I, to help us, collaborate with us in the field of sports.
The focus is on sports as a theme itself and also in conjunction with Youths to help provide a robust roadmap of activities.
Do lend your support by participating in the various events, programmes and initiatives; volunteer and make a difference. It is my hope to bring as many Malaysians out to cheer for our athletes and teams – and to give them something to cheer for, today and in many years to come.