Sarawak sports ministry secures RM367.8 mln for 82 projects, including next year’s Sukma preparations

Abdul Karim (seated centre) speaking to reporters during a press conference following his ministerial winding-up speech in the DUN complex on Nov 28, 2023.

By Ashley Sim

KUCHING, Nov 28: A total of 21 ‘Project Rakyat’ and 61 physical projects under 12th Malaysia Plan (12MP) totaling RM367.8 million have been approved for the Ministry of Youth, Sports, and Entrepreneur Development (MYSED) Sarawak, including preparations for next year’s Malaysia Games (Sukma), which the State will host.

MYSED Sarawak minister Dato Sri Abdul Karim Rahman Hamzah told the august House that his ministry is paving the way for locals, particularly youth, rural communities, and sportspeople, to have access to conducive, safe, and standard sports facilities, as well as identifying the facilities that will be used as Sukma competition venues.

“My ministry has been working closely with the Sarawak Sports Corporation (SSC) to ensure that the facilities meet the needs of the athletes and are suitable for the upcoming Sukma in 2024,” he said when presenting his ministerial winding-up speech during the Second Meeting for the Second Term of the 19th Sarawak State Legislative Assembly (DUN) at the DUN complex here today.

Abdul Karim also thanked the State Government, particularly the Economic Planning Unit (EPU), for assisting in securing funding for Sukma and other projects planned by his ministry under the Mid-Term Review of the 12MP.

“An amount of RM144.6 million has been allocated for ongoing projects, new projects, and upgrading of sports facilities to be made ready in terms of specifications and operations as Sukma venues.

“Twenty-eight Sukma venues have been identified involving nine divisions which are Kuching, Samarahan, Sri Aman, Betong, Sibu, Mukah, Bintulu, Miri, and the latest one, Serian.”

Abdul Karim also disclosed that the upcoming 21st Sukma Sarawak 2024 will be held from Aug 17 to Aug 24, 2024, where 37 sports with a total of 489 events have been identified to be held in nine divisions, namely Kuching, Samarahan, Serian, Sri Aman, Betong, Sibu, Mukah, Bintulu, and Miri with an estimated 16,000 athletes and officials.

“In order to achieve the goal of becoming the runaway champion in the upcoming 21st Sukma Sarawak 2024 which is another 263 days to go, there is a need for SSC and the Sarawak Sports Council (MSNS) to set up and establish a robust solution to overcome the existing shortfall,” he added.

Abdul Karim, who is also Asajaya assemblyman, noted that his ministry has also developed a comprehensive plan to address the identified potential issues and challenges.

“Besides the upgrading of the Sukma facilities, a total secured funding of RM53.45 million had been specifically allocated to SSC and MSNS for the 21st Sukma preparation in term of athlete training and exposure, sports equipment, and competition and technical management.”

Furthermore, he stated that the completion of the Sarawak Sports Village in early 2024 is timely for Sukma preparations because the facility will be used to place athletes and as a hostel for 500 athletes.

“The scope of work comprises one female (four stories) and one male (four stories) hostel buildings, one multipurpose hall and dining hall, ancillary building, and infrastructure works,” he added.

Meanwhile, during a press conference following the ministerial closing speech, the Sports Minister told reporters that the State is still negotiating with the federal government to determine how much funds will be distributed to Sarawak for Sukma preparations. — DayakDaily