Avoid ‘buzz’ words, clearly communicate objectives of national sports vision to the public

A youth leader has called on the Youth and Sports Ministry to shed the traditional ways of announcing programmes, adding that communication for such initiatives should be clear and direct.

Umno deputy youth chief Shahril Hamdan said there have been numerous big announcements in the past but “the level of relatability to the rakyat is becoming less and less”.

“Take Vision 2020 for example. Everyone was pretty much on board then. Now there’s the Shared Prosperity Vision. Whether it’s cynicism or fatigue, people are tired of grand announcements,” said Shahril.

“What people want to know is ‘here are the problems, and this is how we solve them’. We need to make it (the communication) brief. Most government documents are lengthy.”

He reminded the ministry to be clear on what it wants to achieve when it eventually announces the National Sports Vision (VSN) 2030, adding that ‘buzz’ words no longer resonated with the people.

Shahril said this during a VSN online discussion themed “Sports For All” yesterday. He was joined by Bangi MP Ong Kian Ming, and Universiti Pendidikan Sultan Idris vice chancellor Prof Datuk Dr Md Amin Md Taff.

Shahril gave an example of how the VSN should be positioned.

“Personally, I would focus on grassroots development, sports as an agent of unity, and committing to sports that would actually bring Malaysia success,” he said.

“We talk about sports being an agent of unity all the time, but what are we doing about it? Perhaps a grassroots league of key sports that stipulates that every participating team must cut across (economic) class and race … This will excite them.

“There must also be a commitment to say that although we have our ‘favourite’ sports, we are going to focus on other disciplines that can give us a reasonable amount of success. Bold statements need to be made.”

He added that the objectives would often be lost in a “long, fat document”. Instead, objectives must be singled out and communicated effectively to the people.

“If it’s going to be all about the core, vision, and so on, it (VSN 2030) will be no different than the government documents of the past.”

Shahril also pointed out that given the Covid-19 pandemic, 2030 no longer matters.

“It’s what happens tomorrow that matters. Perhaps a bubble-based sports event can be the first window.

“Let’s be honest, neither of us (panellists) can fully understand the pain sports industry players go through. We can only think of textbook solutions and provide more grants to cover the OpEx (operational expenditure).

“What they really want is to open up,” he added.

Sporting activities are the first to shut down and last to open following the various lockdowns that have been enforced in the country since March last year due to the Covid-19 pandemic. This has resulted in industry players, including gymnasium operators, swimming coaches and personal trainers, suffering massive losses.

Bangi MP Ong Kian Ming, meanwhile, said the best way to get out of the current predicament is to further increase vaccination.

“I would work with different organisers on the standard operating procedures to get the various sports events started. I would also work with the Finance Ministry and other financial institutions to help sports organisers and operators get their finances in order,” he said.