Schools’ Sports given a new lease of life by DPM
KUCHING: Deputy Prime Minister, Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin has saved the Schools’ Sports through his announcement that the Education Ministry will allocate RM89 million for sports and co-curricular activities in schools.
Muhyiddin, who is also the Education Minister, also ordered that the Malaysian Schools Sports Council (MSSM) re-instate the 11 sports that were slashed from the 2010 calendar citing a cut in the Ministry’s budget.
Muhyiddin said: "Re-instating the 11 sports is consistent with making sports a priority in schools nationwide.
“Our goal is that each and every of our 5.6 million students in 10,000 schools take up at least one sport.”
Muhyiddin also announced that steps were being taken to ensure that schools are well equipped for sports - which include upgrading poor sports facilities and school fields.
Indeed, a big thank-you to the DPM is in order when he vetoed the earlier decision announced by the Sports, Arts and Co-curriculum department’s decision to exclude 11 sports because their budget has been cut from RM6 million to RM1.5 million.
However, while the decision must be applauded, another bigger question is looming as to whether the new decision will be put into action with utmost priority and urgency.
The concern is how long will it be take before the decision is forwarded to the Ministry of Finance and how long before funds are dispensed to the ground for activities to be organised.
It is already into the second week of February and with the Chinese New Year holidays ahead, before we know it the month of February would have passed.
The first term school holidays starts from March 13 to 21.
The schools’ sports at national level are normally organised during the schools holidays and whether the Inter-Schools and Inter-Districts championships can be organised during this short spell is another question mark.
The next school holidays is from June 5 to 20 and probably, the next school term from March 22 to June 4 can be used to organise the schools and district level competitions.
However, the last thing we need is for the Education Ministry to come and say that because of time constraints and the funds not being made available immediately, they will have to forgo some sports or even organise it on a one or two-day carnival basis.
However, the consensus among parents and sports followers and critics alike, is that all this is too good to be true because the announcement to re-instate the 11 sports and the funds made available, may have come too late. Many are skeptical that the 11 sports axed can be organised.
Certainly this is more than enough reason for the Ministry of Education to prove the critics wrong and not let down Muhyiddin and putting him in a hot spot.
BACKGROUND TO SLASH OF MSSM FUNDS
MSSM"s budget for 2010 was slashed from RM6 to RM1.5 million.
As a result of this measure, only 13 sports was supposed to have been organised by MSSM at the national level. They were artistic gymnastics, gymrama, golf, swimming, athletics, badminton, netball, basketball, volleyball, sepak takraw, football, tennis and hockey.
On top of that, all the sports, except for artistic gymnastics, gymrama, swimming and athletics, were not supposed to have the Under-15 age group championships.
Schools sports are organised at Under-12, Under-15 and Under-18 age group level.
The eleven sports given the axe included sports which are key sports in Malaysia: -bowling, squash and archery. The others supposed to be axed were table tennis, rugby, cricket, sailing, softball, handball, cross country and chess. While the sports were supposed to be cut because of lack of funds at the MSSM level, the inaugural Asian Schools Sports will be organised by MSSM to a tune of RM 5.5 million.