OCM will continue pursuit on pension for Olympians – Norza Zakaria

KUALA LUMPUR,. The Olympic Council of Malaysia (OCM) will remain resolute in its pursuit to convince the government to introduce a pension scheme for Olympians.

OCM president Tan Sri Mohamad Norza Zakaria said he would meet Youth and Sports Minister Datuk Seri Reezal Merican Naina Merican soon to discuss on the matter, after the proposal was not included in Budget 2021 tabled in Dewan Rakyat on Friday.

“We understand that at the moment, the government has other concerns to take care in the time of the COVID-19. But we will engage with the minister to continue our pursue on this course as well as the free medical insurance coverage for national athletes,” he said when contacted by Bernama.

On Tuesday, Bernama reported that the OCM has proposed for the special pension to be included in Budget 2021 to help ease the burden of national athletes who had sacrificed a lot for the country’s glory at the Olympics and equivalent level like the world championships.

However, OCM is delighted with the commitment shown by the government in the budget that was presented by Finance Minister Tengku Datuk Seri Zafrul Tengku Abdul Aziz, which has taken into account the interests of various stakeholders of the sports industry.

Mohamad Norza said the RM55 million allocation specifically targeted for the development of elite sports and women’s participation in sports, would help to strengthen the country’s grassroots development.

He said the RM20 million allocations for sports facility operators through the National Entrepreneur Group Economic Fund (TEKUN) loan, showed that the government was sensitive to the difficulties and challenges brought on by the pandemic.

On the RM103 million to upgrade sports facilities, Mohamad Norza said it would definitely go a long way in securing country’s future in sports by ensuring that the public would continue to have access to sports facilities once the standard operating procedures (SOP) are ready.

“Meanwhile, the ‘Healthy Malaysia National Agenda’ and the income tax relief increase of RM500 to RM3,000 for purchases of sports equipment including participating fee for sports competitions will definitely encourage more Malaysians to be involved in sports.

“We acknowledge that times are difficult. Having said that, we welcome the government’s commitment to the entire sports industry with a budget that takes into account not just elite sports but also grassroots sports and sport facility operators,” he said.

— BERNAMA

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