No bias in selection of Sukma athletes, says Abd Karim


Abdul Karim speaks to reporters at the event. – Photo by Roystein Emmor

KUCHING (Nov 19): Youth, Sports, and Entrepreneur Development Minister Dato Sri Abdul Karim Rahman Hamzah has clarified that there has been no bias in the selection of athletes for Sukan Malaysia (Sukma) next year.

According to him, such accusation is usually made by parents with children who wanted to be included in teams of their preferred sports.

“But whether at the state or national level, there is a specific format for selecting athletes to represent the state and the country.

“We follow a certain procedure to satisfy everyone, and sometimes, when athletes are equally good, it becomes challenging,” he said when met by reporters during the final day of the two-day ‘KBS MYSED Sukan Perpaduan’ event at Stadium Sarawak today.

Sharing a personal experience, Abdul Karim recounted a situation where three equally skilled discus athletes from Sarawak had to be narrowed down to only two for a Sukma event.

He explained the difficulty in making such decisions and the pressure that came with it.

“We had to call the coach and team manager to make a decision. It’s not easy when all three are excellent, but we must choose the best to represent us,” he said.

Abdul Karim was responding to allegations of favouritism in the selection of players of the Sukma football team that surfaced on social media recently.

Abdul Karim said although he has yet to receive any feedback on the issue, it is the role of coaches to assess the players’ skills, stamina, and overall performance.

“Determining a football player’s worth is challenging because it’s a team game. This is why we rely on coaches to evaluate stamina, skill levels, and more.

“Nevertheless, we will delve deeper to ascertain if there is any truth to these allegations.

“If the coach and the team they selected have personal connections, perhaps there is an element of bias. We will gather feedback from the schools to get a comprehensive understanding,” he said.