Syed Saddiq promises to look after welfare of athletes after meeting 2 axed sportsmen

Syed Saddiq.

PETALING JAYA: Youth and Sports Minister Syed Saddiq Syed Abdul Rahman has assured that the welfare of the nation’s athletes will continue to be looked after, even after they leave the National Sports Council’s (MSN) sports programme.

Syed Saddiq said this after meeting with former paralympic athletes Shukor Farhan Suliman and Mohd Nur Syafiq Suhaimy who were reportedly directionless after their contracts were terminated by MSN.

However, the duo said even after meeting the minister, they were unclear about their fate.

Syed Saddiq said in a statement: “I listened to the explanations given by all sides. Performance-based assessment results are made by the committee and ‘head coach’ every year.

“KBS (his ministry), through MSN, will continue to improve the welfare of the nation’s athletes, including after the end of the sports programme with MSN.”.

Shukor Farhan Suliman (right) and Mohd Nur Syafiq Suhaimy at work at their roadside stall.

FMT had previously reported that former national cyclist Shukor Farhan Suliman, who had won a gold medal at the Asean Para Games 2017 in Kuala Lumpur is selling fruits by the roadside after his contract was terminated by MSN.

Shukor, 23, said MSN’s decision to not renew his contract had ended his pursuit of a sports career as a national athlete and affected his income.

Nur Syafiq, 27, had also expressed disappointment that MSN had not renewed his contract.

Nur Syafiq’s contract was terminated by MSN following an accident which left him with a broken leg just a day before the Asean Para Games in September 2017.

Syed Saddiq said initiatives to work with universities and institutes would be strengthened to provide athletes with scholarships and to enable them to continue their studies during training.

He said the ministry now had such a relationship with seven universities and the target was to have one university in every state by the end of 2019.

He said the athletes’ insurance schemes were also being reviewed.

Athletes unclear about minister’s guarantee

Meanwhile, Shukor and Nur Syafiq said they remained unclear about the exact nature of the assistance to be provided to them even after meeting Syed Saddiq.

Shukor said he was unsure whether the assistance and guarantees would be provided by the ministry or MSN.

“There was no guarantee from him. I did not hear from Syed Saddiq’s mouth how he would be able to help,” he told FMT.

Nur Syafiq said Syed Saddiq told him he would see what work would be suitable for their future and left it to the director-general to deal with it. He said there was no conclusive word on what he could expect.

However, they were glad that Syed Saddiq spoke to them.