NSC studying EPF, Perkeso contributions for athletes – Hannah

KUALA LUMPUR, Nov 21: The National Sports Council (NSC) is examining a possible first-time implementation of contributions such as the Employees Provident Fund (EPF) and the Social Security Organisation (Perkeso) for athletes under the podium programme starting January next year.

Youth and Sports Minister Hannah Yeoh said this was decided by the NSC Board of Management recently after a review of the national athletes training allowance scheme with an emphasis on athlete well-being was approved.

“This is a game changer because prior to this, there was no programme implemented that would allow national athletes to get EPF and Socso,” she said when winding up the debate on the Supply Bill 2024 at the committee stage for the Youth and Sports Ministry (KBS) in the Dewan Rakyat today.

Regarding the dispute between the Olympic Council of Malaysia (OCM) and Sports Commissioner (PJS) Suhardi Alias, Hannah said she had asked KBS secretary-general Dr Nagulendran Kangayatkarasu to hold a discussion with the two sports bodies soon.

“There is no denying that these two bodies (OCM and PJS) are very important. OCM is pivotally important in terms of Malaysian sports development while PJS also plays an important role as the administrator for the Sports Development Act,” she said.

Previously, an audio recording of Suhardi allegedly threatening to deregister OCM went viral, followed by OCM president Tan Sri Mohamad Norza Zakaria issuing a statement demanding Suhardi to clear the air, describing his statement as being uncalled for.

The Dewan Rakyat then approved the estimated operating and development expenditure of RM1,124,555,600 allocated to KBS in the Budget 2024 with more votes in support after being debated by 20 Members of Parliament (MPs).

Meanwhile, Human Resource Minister V. Sivakumar, when winding up the debate for his ministry, said that since 2011, TalentCorp through the Returning Expert Programme has received over 10,000 applications from Malaysian professionals or diaspora living abroad to return to the country.

He said this involved an average of consistent applications numbering 400 to 500 per year, with over 6,000 experts having been approved under the REP initiative.

“Aware of the inroads of globalisation as with the discussion of ‘brain drain’ now evolved to ‘brain circulation’, TalentCorp’s efforts now go beyond facilitating their return to optimising contributions wherever they are,” he said.

The Dewan Rakyat then approved the estimated operating and development expenditure of  RM1,467,578,900 allocated to the Human Resource Ministry with a majority voice vote after being debated by 17 MPs.