We will help, minister assures Sarawakian athletes no longer in national team


Abdul Karim has given assurance that his ministry and the SSC would reach out to Sim (photo), and the Sarawakian athletes.

KUCHING (Feb 18): The Ministry of Youth, Sport and Entrepreneur Development and Sarawak Sports Corporation (SSC) would jointly look into how they could assist Sarawakian athletes who had quit the national team, said minister Dato Sri Abdul Karim Rahman Hamzah.

He acknowledged swimmer Welson Sim as one of the Sarawakian athletes who had recently made such a move.

“I’m not too happy about what’s happening because these are Sarawakian athletes. These (athletes) are our hope. I don’t know what’s going on as I have yet to look into this deeper.

“But our ministry and the SSC will try to look into where we can assist these athletes because the competitive age for an athlete is very, very short,” he told reporters when met after attending a function at a hotel here today.

Abdul Karim, who is also Minister for Tourism, Creative Industry and Performing Arts, felt that some national athletes had not been given their allowances or provided with accommodation.

He also acknowledged the situation of some athletes being axed from the national programme, which he remarked as ‘not very good’.

“Altogether, there are more than 100 athletes who are facing this problem (and) a few of them are from Sarawak.”

Abdul Karim said at the very least, his ministry and the SSC would reach out to the Sarawakian athletes.

“As much as possible, we will try to assist. At least, Sarawak is looked after. Whatever politics is happening in ‘Semenanjung’ (Peninsular Malaysia), let them be, but I’m not happy about it,” he pointed out.

Sim, a three-time SEA Games gold medallist and a two-time Olympian, tendered his resignation to Malaysian Swimming and the National Sports Council on Feb 7 – just a few months before the next SEA Games, set to take place in Hanoi this May.

The move made by 24-year-old athlete came as a huge shock to many, especially to the Amateur Swimming Association of Sarawak president Dato Wee Hong Seng.