Yeoh's promised reforms turned into disappointing status quo, say critics

31 Oct 2023 10:05am
Youth and Sports Minister Hannah Yeoh.
Youth and Sports Minister Hannah Yeoh.

SHAH ALAM – Nearly a year into her tenure as Youth and Sports Minister, Hannah Yeoh faces mounting criticism over what some deem a lacklustre performance, with her fiercest detractors questioning her promise to drive significant reforms in Malaysia’s sports landscape.

The grouses against Yeoh – fuelled by Malaysia’s poor performance in the 19th Asian Games in Hangzhou – were voiced by two seasoned sports journalist, Arnaz M. Khairul and Graig Nunis in the latest episode of Sinar Daily’s Sports Matter Podcast.

“We were ready to give her the benefit of the doubt, but she has been in office for 10 months. We are not against her, but we have the right to be disappointed. She came with promises of reform, but all she has done is sustain the status quo,” Arnaz remarked.

In airing his views, Arnaz also implored on Prime Minister Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim to take a careful inspection into the system that has been regulating the Malaysian sports landscape, claiming that it was failing.

A lot of sports in the country, argued Arnaz, have not been able to grow healthily because of the existing system which rendered them overly dependent on government funding.

“Since the 1990s, when the then-government first got involved and all sports was fully regimented and funded by the government, including all elite programmes, our sports cannot grow because they are incapable of funding themselves.

“I think, over RM100 billions of government funds have been spent on the elite programme under the National Sports Council, but we are nowhere better at the Olympics than our result in the 1996 Olympic where we won one silver and one bronze medals,” said Arnaz.

He added almost all countries have been commercialising and industrialising their sports, save for countries in the Eastern Bloc.

Related Articles:

“You don’t have to look far, just look at the Philippines, you think they are spending millions on their elite sports programmes? No. They are not sponsored by the government. Soon, our similar friend who shares the same concept would be North Korea,” Arnaz argued.

The other guest of the podcast, Graig, also concurred with Arnaz’ argument, adding that if the rumoured Cabinet reshuffle was to indeed take place, then Anwar should think thoroughly and carefully about Yeoh’s replacement.

“Not that I am pushing for it, but if she is indeed replaced, my question is, who do we currently have that is able to become a good Youth and Sports Minister? Sadly, we don’t seem to have anyone with the calibre.

“Whoever that replaces Yeoh, is going to set the momentum for next year’s Paris Olympics and the one to be held in 2028. The government just gave the ministry another RM72 million, how are you going to utilise that money to ensure that there is a legacy that there is success.

“Whoever is coming in, the government must make sure that he or she is the right person for the job,” Graig said.

More Like This