Trust deficit makes it hard to ‘sell’ idea of National Sports Vision 2030

When you are a minister, or an MP, you must always maintain your composure and be mindful of your actions.

Also, being a minister is like being an investment banker. You are often blamed for everything.

Now it is true to say, unfortunately, that Youth and Sports Minister Datuk Seri Reezal Merican Naina Merican’s predecessors had done little to position sports as a worthy industry to Malaysia’s economy and social well-being.

The Covid-19 pandemic, resulting in the economic crisis, aggravated the gross absence of policies needed to establish sports as a significant contributor to the nation’s economy. This inadequacy has led to sports being deprived of the economic protection needed to survive the pandemic and on-going lockdown.

To make the already dreadful situation worse is the political uncertainty in Putrajaya.

As Reezal Merican continues to push towards an economic recovery for sports, he also believes that the battle to “build back better” must also include the formulation of policies and procedures that are future-proof and robust enough to withstand unforeseen economic situations.

This is where the National Sports Vision (VSN) 2030 – a national sports blueprint for the next decade – comes into the picture. While still in its canvassing phase, the blueprint is designed to map out policies and procedures that would not only drive the resurgence of the industry, but also celebrate it as a recognisable and valuable asset to the economy, one that is able to rebound when faced with economic uncertainty.

The capacity to implement such policies depends essentially on trust. Without trust in the minister and the ministry, support for the blueprint, regardless how brilliant it may be, would be difficult to mobilise, particularly when short-term sacrifices are involved, and long-term gains are seen to be less tangible.

According to a Twitter poll by Bahas Bola, on average, only two out of 10 people in the country expressed confidence in Reezal Merican. The decline in trust will eventually lead to lower rates of participation and compliance among the people.

Businesses can also become more risk-averse, delaying investment, innovation and employment decisions that are essential to regain competitiveness and jumpstart growth of the industry. Investing in trust should be considered a critical and central approach to reinforcing social cohesion, as well as a sign that the minister is learning from the current crisis.

You should bear this in mind if you are ever thinking of becoming a politician. Perhaps you will never have to queue up for a vaccination, wait for a table or get caught in a traffic jam.

But do please remember before submitting your political party membership application, that once you are perceived as unreliable, the people will immediately turn their backs on you.

This is the personal opinion of the writer and does not necessarily represent the views of Twentytwo13.