Why did we fall behind in SEA Games, Najib asks Putrajaya

FOLLOWING Malaysia’s poor performance at the recently conclude SEA Games, former prime minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak urged the Youth and Sports Minister (KBS) to address the matter urgently.

“I congratulate all the athletes who put in their blood, sweat and tears to bring glory to our nation. However, I must mention a few things.

“This is the first time Malaysia came in number six among all countries participating, the lowest in our history.

“And I believe we have never fell behind Singapore except for times when the latter served as host for the sporting event,” he said in a Facebook post.

With the SEA Games concluding yesterday, Malaysia won 39 gold, 45 silver and 90 bronze medals in total.

Host country Vietnam won 205 gold, 125 silver and 116 bronze, securing 446 medals all in all.

In terms of ranking, Malaysia came in number six; behind Vietnam, Thailand, Indonesia, the Philippines and Singapore.

Following the poor results, Youth and Sports Minister Datuk Seri Ahmad Faizal Azumu said that “all Malaysians are disappointed” by the matter.

“All Malaysians are disappointed because we are not at a higher position.

“We should not be contented with our sixth position at the Games. Malaysia is usually in the regional top five and the last time it settled for sixth was in 1983, when only eight nations took part, compared to the current 11,” The Malay Mail Online reported him as saying.

However, former deputy youth and sports minister Steven Sim shot back at Faizal yesterday and called him to take responsibility over the matter instead of blaming the athletes.

The DAP leader reminded the minister that allocation for athletes to prepare for international competitions was cut by 80% in Budget 2022 compared to Budget 2018.

“In addition, training allowances for 253 athletes were also terminated while those who continued to receive allowances saw a drastic cut of up to 60%.

“The disappointment voiced by the minister is wholly unacceptable when many including myself have warned in Parliament since November last year that the sports sector would see a decline due to the minister’s failure and steep budget cuts for sports,” Malaysiakini reported Sim as saying.

Lowest in decades

On that note, Najib reminded Putrajaya that the 39-gold tally for Malaysia was the lowest since 1995, when the country only won 31.

“But even then, we were ranked number four. In 2019, Malaysia garnered 56 gold (fifth ranking), 145 gold in 2017 (first ranking) and 62 gold in 2015 (fourth ranking).

“Despite our previous achievements, why was our gold medal target reduced to 36 this year? Can someone explain that to us?” the Pekan MP queried. – May 23, 2022

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