PUTRAJAYA: The tax exemption for the purchase of sports equipment and training fees will be a “game changer” for the local sports scene, says youth and sports minister Hannah Yeoh.
Yeoh said this measure will incentivise parents to instill an active lifestyle in their children and boost spending in the local sports industry.
“Parents always have to fork out a sum of money from their savings for their children’s sports education. When we encourage this kind of spending, it will also boost spending in the local sports industry.
“This is a way to change the lifestyle of children and youths to ensure they grow up enjoying an active sports-based lifestyle,” she said at a press conference after the National Sports Day opening ceremony officiated by Prime Minister Anwar Ibrahim in Putrajaya this morning.
Under the RM393.8 billion 2024 budget tabled by Anwar, who is also finance minister, yesterday, up to RM1,000 in tax exemptions will be provided for the purchase of sporting goods and sports training fees.
The youth and sports ministry will also be allocated RM72 million to improve the ecosystem for elite athletes, which includes RM20 million for the Road to Gold Olympic programme.
Yeoh said her ministry will design an infrastructure plan with stakeholders to upgrade and maintain existing sports facilities nationwide, with the RM50 million allocated under the 2024 budget.
She said the quality of sports facilities needed to be on par with the standard of the sports talents in the country.
“The 2023 Asian Games showed us we have enough talented (sportsmen and sportswomen). What we need now is to have an infrastructure plan to run hand-in-hand with talent development.
“For example, the squash team won half of the gold medals in the Asian Games, and as such, we need to make sure we have enough squash courts to nurture more local talents in the sport,” she added.
In the recently concluded Hangzhou Asian Games in China, Malaysia won six gold medals, eight silver, and 18 bronze, with the squash team winning the gold medal in the men’s singles, women’s singles and women’s team categories.