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KUCHING, Nov 10: Sarawak will abide with the decision to cancel the 20th edition of Malaysia Games (SUKMA) and Para SUKMA 2020 in Johor which was called off due to the uncertainty of the Covid-19 epidemic that is still plaguing the country and globally.
Minister of Youth and Sports Sarawak Datuk Abdul Karim Rahman Hamzah said the decision made by the SUKMA Johor 2020 organising committee on the matter was timely given the safety of thousands of athletes, sports officers and volunteers.
“The decision made is correct because we have entered the third wave of Covid-19 and uncertainty of when will the current situation will end,” Abdul Karim said in a statement.
SUKMA Johor 2020 was supposed to take place in July this year.
It was postponed to March 6-14, 2021 due to Covid-19 and then rescheduled to April 2 -10 April, 2021 after obtaining the consent of all states involved.
On Nov 9, Minister of Youth and Sports Malaysia Datuk Seri Reezal Merican Naina Merican officially announced the total cancellation Sukma Johor.
However, Johor was given the rights to organise SUKMA 2022 edition because the state had completed almost 99 percent of the preparation works such as planning, management, technical and 31 competition venues for 31 types of events.
Abdul Karim who is also Sarawak’s Tourism, Arts and Culture minister said, “this decision is important because of the imminent dangers and the organizers will have difficulty in providing health safety assurance to almost 30,000 people who are expected to be involved in the games.
“Apart from the safety of the athletes competing, we should also take into account the large number of spectators and sports fans who are expected to be present at the venue of the competitions.”
Apart from security factors, Abdul Karim said the organisers also face difficult situations especially by the Johor government due to the postponement of Sukma 2020 and Para Sukma 2020 on two occasions that led to the increase in management costs which put pressures and constraints on the implementation of athlete training programs by the participating states.
“It is not easy to set a new date next year because it is also influenced by other local and international sporting events which coincide with some important dates such as Ramadan celebrations from April 13-May 13, Euro Cup 2020 Football Championship (11 June-11 July), Tokyo Olympics in Japan 2020 (July 23-Aug 8), Tokyo Paralympic Games in Japan 2020 (Aug 24-Sept 5) and the Southeast Asian Games (SEA Games) Vietnam end of next year.
“The SUKMA Johor 2020 technical committee is also reviewing and recommending changes to the rules involved, including the age limit of 21 years as well as the eligibility of athletes who had limited training in view of the standard operating procedures (SOP) issued by the Ministry Health Malaysia (MOH) and local authorities,” Abdul Karim disclosed. — DayakDaily