Saturday, January 31, 2009


The nature and role of sport has changed over the years. In the past sport was mostly seen as something that you do for leisure or to keep fit.

Come Feb 7, Tan Sri Prof Khoo Kay Khim will be at the OCM Goodwill Ambassadors meeting and speak his mind on development, or rather the lack of emphasis on it.

We have all come to realize that sport offers career and economic opportunities, amongst other benefits, and more importantly sport offers hope to the many people who seem destined to live a life of poverty. Ultimately sport has a greater social and economic role to play.

Malaysian’s public's love for sport is obvious, so this hotly debated topic, which many people feel very passionate about, appeals to people's emotions. In some instances it has even threatened to overshadow our sporting successes.

Providing a strong sporting foundation at junior level will ensure that in years to come there will be a pool of sportspeople who can be picked on merit only, regardless of the colour of their skin.

It is for this reason that the government, through its Core Sports was looking at providing access to, and participation in, sports, especially at grassroots level and at schools. Sadly this has been discontinued. Neglecting development is the main reason why we are lagging behind in the international arena, and Prof Khoo, as I know him, has always spoke of using sports as a tool for unity.

Tan Sri Khoo has always emphasised that future sports stars must have a similar level of opportunity and should not be disadvantaged because they come from rural areas, or do not have access to the facilities that their counterparts in the urban areas have. And by taking the sport to the masses is something he has constantly harped on.

Sporting success is vital for pride and nation building; and the pleasure that sport brings to many Malaysian fans is also important. This is why OCM with the relevant sporting authorities, must provide the platform and support that is needed to ensure this success.

The pursuit of success must, however, not be achieved in isolation and at the expense of transformation and addressing the inequalities and injustices. An equitable balance has to be found. Let’s hear what Tan Sri has to say next Saturday.