OCM chief Norza welcomes stimulus package initiative for the sports industry

There are efforts by the Malaysian government to rejuvenate the local sports scene that has been badly hit by the Covid-19 pandemic.

Olympic Council of Malaysia president Datuk Seri Norza Zakaria, in revealing this, said Youth and Sports Minister Datuk Seri Reezal Merican Naina Merican and his team are in the midst of gathering information from various parties within the industry regarding the matter.

“His team is gathering information and engaging with (other ministries in) the government, especially the Finance Ministry, to come up with some sort of initiative or package,” said Norza, on The RSS with HD yesterday.

“I support this initiative 100 per cent. We need to take care of those affected by Covid-19.”

The funding, if it becomes a reality, will be in addition to a series of stimulus packages announced by the government since the Movement Control Order (MCO) began on March 18.

On Saturday, Twentytwo13 published an article urging the government, especially the Finance Ministry, to embrace the billion Ringgit sports industry to reap benefits.

This comes after New Zealand announced a NZ$265 million (RM703 million) budget for its struggling sports sector which has been hit by the pandemic.

However, there are concerns the Malaysian government may not be able to raise enough funds as many other sectors and industries are also looking for some form of monetary assistance and tax rebates to get them going.

Those affected by the pandemic and partial lockdown range from sports associations and event organisers to owners of sports centres and private coaches.

Some have recorded massive losses while others have been forced to close their doors for good due to high rental and zero income due to MCO and Conditional MCO.

“We need to reboot and to rejuvenate the (sports) system for the country to prosper,” said Norza who is also Badminton Association of Malaysia president.

He added sports was about passion and those in the industry should not be left unattended.

“All of us should try to convince the government there should be a stimulus package for the industry.”