The Youth and Sports Ministry is setting up a one-stop centre to look after the welfare of present and former athletes, said its minister Syed Saddiq Syed Abdul Rahman.
“The ministry has made a decision to open the one-stop centre specifically for athletes... we want it to be ready as soon as in the second or third quarter of this year.
“It’s not a place to settle case by case, but of a more comprehensive nature for athletes. Although some have long retired, they have still served the country, (so) we have a moral responsibility to them,” he told reporters at the launching of the computerised ballot system for registration for the KL Standard Chartered Marathon 2019 in Kuala Lumpur today.
“I have informed the National Sports Council (NSC) and National Sports Institute (NSI) that priority should be given to finding jobs for them.”
According to him, the setting up of the one-stop centre was necessary now, considering the many welfare issues faced by present and former athletes, which have gone viral on social and local media.
Syed Saddiq said they had also collaborated with both public and private institutions of higher learning to ensure a brighter future for athletes.
“We now have 19 such institutions on board. We are targeting at least one institution in every state which can be turned into a sports hub.
“If possible, we want to absorb former athletes into the varsities’ workforce and help polish the talent of new athletes. If universities are activated as sports hubs, I am confident things like this (welfare) can be better handled,” he said.
Among the collaboration already in place are with Universiti Sultan Zainal Abidin (UniSZA) in Terengganu, which focuses on the development of archery as well as providing study opportunities to the athletes there.
In another development, Syed Saddiq wants the Football Association of Malaysia (FAM) to figure out the best method to overcome the ticketing problem faced whenever big games, whether featuring the national team or those in the Malaysia League (M-League), were held.
Citing the KL Marathon computerised ballot registration system, Syed Saddiq said: “Maybe they can create a loyalty system... balancing the online and manual sales of tickets.”
He also urged the Malaysia Stadium Corporation (MSC) to give full support to FAM to overcome the problem.