Sarawak keeps youths at home during MCO with online game tournaments

Sarawak is promoting online games, with cash prizes, to attract youths stuck at home during the movement control order period.

KUCHING: The movement control order (MCO) may still be in force but this has not stopped football fan Mohd Ramlie Hassan Shaari from playing the game — virtually.

The 38-year-old, who works at Universiti Malaysia Sarawak (Unimas), was one of several players in the FIFA 2020 online tournament game, one of the Sarawak government’s initiatives to help young people to overcome their boredom at home during the MCO period.

A RM2,000 cash prize awaits the champion.

“My family and I are football fans and this game not only brings us closer but it also makes me feel as though I’m on the field playing a real football game.

“I think this is a good initiative by the state government to hold online tournament games with attractive cash prizes to encourage youths to stay at home and get them occupied with fun activities,” he told FMT.

Sarawak Youth and Sports Minister Abdul Karim Rahman Hamzah, when contacted, told FMT: “What the state government is doing is just to get the youths busy and entertained while they are confined to the home during this MCO period.”

He said there were two online tournament games organised by his ministry, namely FIFA 2020 and the PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds (PUBG) mobile game.

Those found breaking the stay-at-home rule will be disqualified immediately.

As of now, the participation for the PUBG mobile game tournament is full with 396 people having signed up. However, slots are still available for the FIFA 2020.

“We received full participation for the PUBG mobile tournament game within half a day. So far, 226 people have signed up for the FIFA 2020 and registration will be closed once it reaches 256 people,” he said.

The closing date for FIFA 2020 is on April 9.

Abdul Karim Rahman Hamzah

“I have directed my ministry to continue with another set of tournament games after this one is over since many have requested for it to be expanded,” said Karim.

Two more online game tournaments will be held from April 23 to 26, namely the PUBG mobile game tournament and pro-evolution soccer 20 (PES20).

The PUBG mobile game tournament and FIFA 2020 were organised by the youth and sports ministry in collaboration with the Sarawak e-sports association for Sarawakian youths aged between 15 and 40.

The FIFA 2020 game tournament will be held from April 10 to 11 while the PUBG mobile game tournament will be held from April 12 to 13. Both champions will receive cash prizes worth RM2,000.

Second place winners will receive a RM1,000 cash prize while third place winners will receive cash prizes of RM800.

Meanwhile, 35-year-old Wan Iswandi Wan Ahmad, who enjoyed playing the PUBG mobile game during his pastime, said he was looking forward to the tournament since it would be organised for the first time in the state.

“Besides, the cash prizes are also very attractive; champions get to win RM2,000 in cash,” he added.

In fact, he said they had proposed for an online tournament for the PUBG mobile game since 2018. However, the combat game was labelled as violent.

“I don’t think the game is that violent at all. It’s just a strategic action game making players think besides promoting teamwork and friendship,” he said.

Wan Iswandi said he hoped the state government would consider holding the tournament and not only hold it during the MCO period.

Those who require more information on the FIFA 2020 tournament may contact its coordinator at 012-8947577 and the PUBG coordinator at 016-9064526.