OCM describes 2024 Budget as “sports industry-friendly”

KUALA LUMPUR, Oct 13: The Olympic Council of Malaysia (OCM) has described the 2024 Budget as being “sports industry-friendly”, covering the interest of all parties and, thus, signifying the government’s commitment to making sports the main thrust to building a MADANI society.

OCM president Tan Sri Mohamad Norza Zakaria said the Malaysia MADANI Budget 2024, which was tabled by Prime Minister Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim, took into account the needs of everyone’s needs, with the highlight being the RM20 million allocation for the Road to Gold (RTG) programme.

“The OCM welcomes the Budget 2024 announcement following the national contingent’s success in garnering 32 medals at the 2022 Hangzhou Asian Games.

“This has given a positive impact now that the government has agreed to pay attention to the elite group of athletes through the allocation of RM20 million for the RTG programme, which is part of the RM72 million allocated for Olympic and non-Olympic sports under the Podium Programme supervised by the National Sports Council (NSC),” he said in a statement today.

The RTG is a special committee jointly chaired by Youth and Sports Minister Hannah Yeoh and Mohamad Norza which was formed to monitor the performance of elite athletes with the potential to deliver medals at the 2024 Paris Olympics and 2028 Los Angeles Olympics.

Mohamad Norza said the allocation for RTG would be used to finance training programmes and competitions with emphasis on efforts to ensure a bigger group of athletes qualify for Paris, thus widening the national contingent’s gold medal prospect.

Meanwhile, Paralympic Council of Malaysia (PCM) president Datuk Seri Megat D Shahriman Zaharudin said the RM12 million allocation for para athlete ecosystem would allow the governing body to strengthen the 97 elite athletes under their care.

He stressed that the achievement of para athletes could not be disputed as they have brought back the gold medal from the Paralympics, in addition to “re-igniting” the country’s dignity at the 2023 ASEAN Para Games in Cambodia.

“Surely the allocation under Budget 2024 will help (towards the 2024 Paris Paralympics). For example, Muhammad Ziyad Zolkefli (shot put) and Abdul Latif Romly (long jump), who have already qualified on merit for the quadrennial Games,” he said.

Anwar today announced an allocation of RM72 million to strenghten the Podium Programme ecosystem, including RM20 million for the implementation of the RTG initiative, in addition to RM12 million being allocated for the empowerment of the para athletes’ ecosystem.

In addition, a total of RM50 million has also been provided for the maintenance and upgrading of youth and sports facilities nationwide, especially for dilapidated infrastructure.

The government will also continue to provide a matching grant of RM50 million to encourage the organisation of prestigious sports events by sports organisations and the private sector as the response this year has been very encouraging.