Ahmad Faizal wants sports to cut across all ministries

It was an hour-long talk show over the weekend that got Youth and Sports Minister Datuk Seri Ahmad Faizal Azumu hungry for more.

The 60 minutes failed to do justice to the various topics that were raised during last weekend’s Planet Sukan on RTM’s TV1.

The conversation included grassroots sports, lessons learnt during the Covid-19 pandemic, the future of Malaysian sports, and creating a sporting culture in Malaysia. Ahmad Faizal was joined by two other guests – Olympic Council of Malaysia secretary-general, Datuk Nazifuddin Najib, and Twentytwo13 editor, Haresh Deol.

Ahmad Faizal also touched on the Russia-Ukraine conflict, and how sports diplomacy can play a role. Later, he also elaborated on the need to promote safe sports.

More importantly, he highlighted the need for sporting programmes that involved almost all the ministries. He even said that his peers in the other ministries could take credit for this initiative.

“We are initiating programmes that cut across ministries. One of them is with the Education Ministry. We will be announcing some of the initiatives soon,” said Ahmad Fazial.

“We will also be having conversations with the Higher Learning Ministry as there is a gap between school-leavers and those who enter higher learning institutions when it comes to sports.”

Ahmad Faizal added that grassroots development was the only way forward for Malaysian sports.

“In a bid to unearth more talents, we hope to get more Malaysians to be a part of the sporting culture. It’s to ensure that Malaysians continue to take good care of their health, and remain active, so that not much burden is put on our healthcare system.

“This has to be done on a large scale, and Insya Allah, this will strengthen our sporting industry. Imagine Malaysians on the fields or courts, playing a sport, every Saturday and Sunday. This will benefit so many parties, from manufacturers of apparel, to small vendors selling drinks, near the facilities.

“This will raise the standard of sports and generate income for so many people at so many levels,” he added.

Nazifuddin also raised a pertinent point regarding Israel. Malaysia does not have diplomatic ties with the Middle East nation that is embroiled in a conflict with Palestine.

“In Malaysia, we have an issue. When we want to hold a world competition, we have a problem accepting Israel,” said Nazifuddin.

“In sports, we want to create a fair avenue for athletes to compete, with or without their flags. It’s about being equal and fair. That’s it.”

Click here to watch the show.