Sports Minister wants a sports school for Sarawak

Abdul Karim (seated, centre), Snowdan (seated second right) and Ik Pahon (seated, second left) in a photo-call with symposium participants.

KUCHING: Tourism, Arts, Culture, Youth and Sports Minister Datuk Abdul Karim Rahman Hamzah wants to see the establishment of a sports school in the state become a reality, as he believed it will help to produce high quality athletes which in long run would catapult the state to be a sports powerhouse in the country.

“I’m a little bit envious of our friends from Sabah, they have got a sports school. We don’t have a sports school in Sarawak. The so-called sports school we have here in Tabuan (Jaya) here does not meet the criteria of a sports school. It is only equivalent to a boarding school,” he said when officiating the 3rd East Malaysia Coaching Symposium and Sports Science Seminar here yesterday.

He disclosed that athletes from SMK Tabuan Jaya only receive an allowance equivalent to what students of Maktab Rendah Sains Mara (MRSM) or boarding schools get, which is lower than that given to athletes in Bandar Penawar in Johor or Bukit Jalil in Kuala Lumpur, the two full-fledged sports schools in the country.

The proposal for a sports school, he revealed, would require approval from the Federal Youth and Sports Ministry as well as Education Ministry.

However, the Minister explained that setting up such a school in Sarawak could be a bit easier than the normal four phases required to establish it in other places. In the case of Sarawak, he explained, “we can catapult straight to the fourth phase partly because we have got the whole sports complex in one place and we have got a secondary school just next to it, minus the hostel.

“So what we need to do is just turn the school into a sports school. We just need to build a ‘sports village’ or hostel to complete the school to be a sports school without having to incur anymore expenses for constructing a running track, sports field and other sports facilities as they are all in the stadium complex.”

Apart from the sports school, Abdul Karim said the state is also planning to establish a Centre of High Performance.

“Things like that we have to learn and adopt. If it is good, we will do it. I’m prepared to get the Centre of High Performance to be in Sarawak and the assistance from experts in sports science is required to develop our athletes. I hope all of you who are sports science experts can later be among those who help bring up our athletes.”

Among those present were Assistant Minister for Youth and Sports Datuk Snowdan Lawan and Ministry of Tourism, Arts, Culture, Youth and Sports permanent secretary Dato Ik Pahon Joyik.

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