Thursday, November 14, 2002

Review of national incentive scheme in order (13/11/2002 - The Malay Mail)

Publication : MM
Date : 13/11/2002
Headline : Review of national incentive scheme in order

THE sooner the national incentive scheme is revised, the better it will be
for sports in the country.
Once too often we have heard of athletes wanting to quit the moment they
get the windfall from the incentive scheme given out by the National
Sports Council.
Weightlifter Amirul Hamizan Ibrahim had planned on quitting but later
said he wanted to take a year's break to study. Karate exponents S.
Premila and M. Srirajarajeswari intend to quit after the world
championships next year.
Amriul was a triple gold medal winner at the Commonwealth Games, with
Premila winning gold in Busan while Srirajarajeswari taking a bronze.
Gold medals at the Commonwealth Games and Asian Games were worth
RM80,000, while silver was RM40,000 and bronze RM20,000.
NSC not only pay out these bonuses for victory, but also finance
athletes and associations in their development and training, which
includes overseas exposure and monthly allowances for the athletes.
And when NSC spend so much money to see the athletes reach the highest
level possible, it is surely not for one-off achievements. They would reap
long-term benefits.
Of course, when the athlete can no longer perform because of the higher
level of competition, age or serious injury, they can gracefully bow out.
But more often than not, athletes bow out much earlier, especially when
they receive lucrative payouts.
It is for this reason that the incentive scheme formula has to be
reviewed. They should only be given a portion immediately with the rest
being invested into a saving and pension scheme.
The Korean system encourages athletes to remain in the sport longer as
the pension scheme and dividends they receive correspond with achievement.
There is a need to look again at proposals made in 1997. They allowed
NSC to enter into an agreement with the sport association and athletes
that they served the nation for a certain number of years.
However, for some reason, the NSC board rejected the proposals.
For the record, RM12,328,238 had been paid out since 1986 (when the
scheme was launched) until last year.
For the Commonwealth Games in Manchester this year, RM1,564,000 was paid
out to the 33 medal-winners (seven gold, nine silver and 18 bronze
medals), coaches and associations.
For 2001 alone, RM1,204,061.50 was paid, out of which RM775,500 was for
achievements at the SEA Games.
In 2000, the total was RM450,200, whereas in 1999, it was RM968,900.
These figures do not include the money spent preparing for the various
Games. For instance, RM40 million was spent on preparations for last
year's SEA Games.

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