KUCHING, Oct 12: Youth and Sports Assistant Minister Datuk Snowdan Lawan has called for a fairer distribution of funds to develop eSports in the state.
He said last year, RM10 million was allocated for eSports in the whole country but the impact was minimal to Sarawak.
The state had to come out with its own allocations to ensure the sports sustained throughout the year and stayed afloat, although it is a new industry in Sarawak, he added.
“This is a growing elite sports popular among the youth in upper secondary schools, campuses and tertiary students.
“Spreading the interest to the rural requires extra funding, especially to build facilities and purchase equipment,” he said in a statement.
Snowdan was commenting on the RM20 million federal budget allocation for the Ministry of Youth and Sports on eSports, tabled by Finance Minister Lim Guan Eng in Parliament yesterday.
“Reliable, fast response internet connectivity and outreach is a must for this sports to develop,” he said.
Snowdan pointed out that the lacklustre support from the federal government to support the industry in Sarawak might affect its growth, especially its objective to tap more potential eSports athletes to participate in the upcoming Manila Sea Games this December, as well as the Malaysia Games in Johor next year.
“Sarawak is one of the sports powerhouses in the country. To accelerate sports talent growth, we expect a proportionate share in the RM299 million allocated for all sports programme.
“For international sports like the upcoming Japan 2020 Olympics and SEA Games Hanoi 2021, Sarawak needs more fund from the RM179 million allocation for its existing athletes and the paralympic who undergo training overseas,” Snowdan said.
The same goes for the financially weak football associations in the country, those struggling to pay salaries, coaching and travelling expenses, as well as the women athletes, to upgrade their performance to a higher level, he continued.
“In view of our state demography and transport cost, bigger allocation is required for Sarawak from the RM138 million allocation to cater for sports facilities such as futsal court, mini sports complex, training and coaching to town and areas throughout the state.
“This should not be restricted to major towns only,” he said. — DayakDaily