Better to upgrade existing facilities than build new white elephants – Hannah

PETALING JAYA, March 9 (Bernama) — Youth and Sports Minister Hannah Yeoh says it is better to spend funds on upgrading existing infrastructure compared to building many more new facilities.

She said the ministry wants to reduce wastage by avoiding the culture of frequently building new sports infrastructure without good maintenance, thus becoming loss-making ‘white elephant’ projects.

She said, a good maintenance culture in the long term, can reduce the waste of building new infrastructure.

“That’s why the priority of KBS (Ministry of Youth and Sports) now is to make an inventory of all sports infrastructure so that we know the complete list. So, if we have limited funds, we know how we want to use those funds to upgrade existing facilities before building new ones.

“I am not sure if I will succeed or not, but I want to find a way to find a home (training venue) for each national team that needs (a place to) practise,” she said when met by reporters after the 2023 Daikin International Badminton Championship here, today.

Commenting further, Hannah said the lack of training facilities is one of the big challenges that is often voiced every time she visits or meets representatives of associations or athletes.

“After getting a complete inventory, we will pair with the national sports association, so that we can coordinate the use of the available facilities,” she said.

Asked about the status of the grass change at Bukit Jalil National Stadium from cow grass to zeon zoysia which was previously reported to start early this year, she said an announcement on the matter would be made soon.

She said, her ministry also wanted to be fair by giving time to state government representatives to provide feedback on the offer of matching grant funds to upgrade the football field by planting zeon zoysia type grass in selected fields.

“We have just conveyed the offer to all exco (youth and sports) in January. To be fair to them, we have to give them time to discuss first because it’s not just about accepting or not, we also have to think about maintenance,” she explained.

Meanwhile, Hannah congratulated the organisers of the badminton tournament, which managed to attract more than 1,500 participants from various age groups at the grassroots level.

She said such a platform is needed to produce more athletes for the country, where parents also play an important role in inculcating a sports lifestyle from childhood.

Source: BERNAMA News Agency