Sarawak hopes to become an eSports hub in the region one day

Abdul Karim (second from left) and Assistant Minister of Youth and Sports Datuk Snowdan Lawan (second right) trying their hands on some computer games at the Sarawak E-sports Expo 2019 this afternoon (Jan 27, 2019)

By Nigel Edgar

KUCHING, Jan 27: The Sarawak government will support all eSports initiatives, including those by Sarawak E-sports Association (SESA), to make the state an eSports hub in the region.

Minister of Tourism, Arts, Culture, Youth and Sports Datuk Abdul Karim Rahman Hamzah reckoned that since eSports was gaining recognition from sporting bodies globally, the state government should hop into the bandwagon, too.

Citing SESA president Afiq Fadhil Narawi, Abdul Karim said eSports had been accepted as a sport not only in the Malaysia Games (Sukma) and in the South East Asia (SEA) Games but in other international sporting events as well.

“The way I look at it, as the minister in charge of sports, we cannot put aside eSports. That’s why my ministry will be very supportive of whatever initiative and things you want to do. We will be behind you,” he said when launching the inaugural Sarawak eSports Expo 2019 at CityONE Megamall here today.

Abdul Karim welcomed SESA and others involved in the industry to forward their proposals for eSports tournaments or events to his ministry for assistance.

Afiq (second from left) presenting a token of appreciation to Abdul Karim. On the right is Assistant Minister of Youth and Sports Datuk Snowdan Lawan.

“I would love to see Kuching becoming the hub of eSports in this region. Even though it (Sarawak E-sports Expo) is the first one (here), it is still getting a lot of good feedback from eSports enthusiasts in this region.

“So, I do hope that with this good start, it will become grander next time. Don’t worry Afiq and all involved as the state government will be here to help you out to make sure whatever you have in your mind will become a reality,” he assured.

However, Abdul Karim advised eSports enthusiasts and gamers alike not to neglect their physical health. He said they should get the proper physical exercise, proper sleep and proper diet.

Meanwhile, Afiq said SESA was headhunting for the state’s best e-athlete to represent Malaysia in the 2019 SEA Games in the Philippines later this year.

He said CityONE Megamall had been kind enough to provide SESA with 15,000 sq.ft of space on the third level of the shopping mall as a centre to develop and train Sarawak’s e-athletes.

“SESA aims to highlight the future of eSports industry and its potential to our local community. One of the most pressing agendas right now for SESA is to ensure that Sarawakian e-athletes or gamers are given the chance to participate in the upcoming state selection for the upcoming SEA Games 2019 in the Philippines,” he said.

Afiq revealed that SESA would be submitting a proposal to the state government soon for a dedicated Sarawak eSports Centre.— DayakDaily