Friday, August 07, 2009


Malaysia needs to gather data on its sports industry before it can determine the sector's contribution to the country's Gross Domestic Product (GDP), said Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak.

He said that without such information, it was difficult for the government to make any plans for the industry although the sports sector had been identified by the government as one of the major contributors to the national economy.

"We have to gather the data and download it into a database before any plans can be made," he told reporters after opening the Malaysian Sports Industry Convention 2009 (Kismas 09), here Friday.

The two-day convention, which began today, is attended by 500 participants who are involved directly or indirectly in the sports industry, aimed at identifying the role of the sports industry in the national economy.

Najib said the contribution of the sports sector in generating the economy of a nation could not be denied because in the United States, the sports industry generated almost USD40 billion (RM1.4 trillion) to the national economy.

The Prime Minister said in line with the government's plan to declare 2011 as the Sports Industry Year to boost the development of the sector in the country, the sports industry must be managed properly.

Before that date, all plans that could boost the sector must be drawn up, Najib said.

He said that in order to develop the country's sports sector, which was still dependent on the government and private sector, efforts must be made to churn out athletes of world standard.

This was because the private sector liked to be associated with success, and in order to get the sector's support, particularly in terms of funding, the country must continue to churn out athletes of world standard.

In his opening address, Najib outlined six perspectives that could transform sports into a lucrative industry in Malaysia.

Firstly, he said sports was based on the performance of the individual athlete in achieving success in his or her respective sports.

Secondly, he said sports was a strong element in national unity where sports went far beyond religious, racial and political barriers.

Thus sports was a form of nation building, citing a good example when China hosted the Beijing Olympic Games last year, the Games became a great pride for the country and its people, he said.

In the fourth perspective, Najib, who is also a sports enthusiast, said sports could promote a healthy lifestyle among the populace.

Additionally, he said sports could further enhance tourism by promoting the country's interesting destinations.

Lastly, he said, sports was an industry by itself, and "we can ensure that sports can turn into an industry and contribute to national economic growth."