Are Olympic rewards more important than people’s livelihood?


Wu Wen Guai

There are many poor people like this writer whose earning is insufficient to meet the monthly family expenditure. There is no surplus money left to save for emergency and we really hope there are other ways to increase our income.

In conjunction with the Rio Olympics, Prime Minister Najib Razak told the Malaysian Olympic team the Government was offering a RM1 million cash reward and RM5,000 monthly for those who bring back a gold medal; RM300,000 cash and RM3,000 monthly for those who win silver; and RM100,000 cash and RM2,000 for a bronze.

If I had a child as outstanding as Lee Chong Wei and who won a gold medal at the Olympics, there won’t be any more financial worries. Thus, I have vowed to train my grandchildren to become sportsmen for a better future.

With such generous rewards offered by the Government, people are salivating and wanting to send their children to the gyms so that they can become outstanding sports persons. They then can become gold medalist and enjoy the RM5,000 monthly pay besides the cash rewards. Their parents would have no worries of money and enjoy an envious life.

Please excuse me for whining and complaining, but I think that people should be clear in their mind and in their thinking in observing the actions taken by our national leaders.

I think they (leaders) don’t seem to care about people’s welfare and livelihood: farmers are short of land to cultivate, pig farmers have nowhere to set up their pig farms, prices are going up, national debt is rising, thugs are running wild, kidnapping and shootings are happening on a regular basis.

People are living in the shadow of fear, and they are apprehensive. But the Government does not seem to be concerned or taking remedial measures to deal with them seriously.

Instead, it is taking such keen interest in winning medals in the Olympics to enhance the reputation and image of our country and our leaders, so that we can once again shout “Malaysia Boleh!” with self-satisfaction.

Is it appropriate for the Government to use taxpayers’ money to motivate our Olympic competitors in this way?

When people are facing financial woes, when they are tightening their belts, when they are trying to save on their food and other expenses, they should ask the Government whether it is right to spend the money elsewhere instead of using it to improve their livelihood.

So, please tell us which is more important, an Olympic gold medal or the people’s livelihood?

Wu Wen Guai is a contributor to Oriental Daily News

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