Many local sporting events are scheduled to take place in Malaysia this year, after the Covid-19 pandemic forced a series of lockdowns since March 2020.
Sports associations, however, must first obtain approval from the Sports Commissioner’s Office (SCO) before they can carry out their competitions – as per the requirement by the National Security Council (NSC).
All states in Malaysia are currently in Phase Four of the National Recovery Plan.
The latest standard operating procedure (SOP) by NSC, dated Jan 3, reads “all competitions and sports meets must obtain approval from the SCO, with the number of participants not more than 1,000 people, at any given time.”
An SCO spokesman said they were merely adhering to the guidelines set by the government, via the NSC.
“In the past, sports associations, regardless state or national, need not apply for such an approval, but due to the Covid-19 pandemic, the NSC has made it a requirement. This is beyond us,” said the spokesman.
Several representatives from sports associations contacted Twentytwo13, crying foul over the new regulation. They said it made it look as though the SCO controlled the sports associations, when the latter are in fact, the guardians of their respective sports.
They also complained of having to fork out additional money to purchase public liability insurance for every event they hosted.
The Sports Development Act clearly states that companies were required to seek approval from the SCO before hosting events. Several amendments were recently made to the Act, which included Section 36, better known as ‘The Evelyn Ang’ provision, in legal circles.
Ang, who competed in the Klang International City Marathon in December 2017, was hit by a car while competing.
She suffered serious injuries and died on March 1, 2018.
The episode, in part, played a role in getting the authorities to amend the section to ensure that companies organising sporting activities were accountable for the welfare of the participants.
“Following Ang’s unfortunate incident, we also made it a requirement for all parties, sports associations and companies, wanting to organise events, to purchase public liability insurance.
“This is to safeguard the interests of the participants,” the spokesman added.