How embarrassing can it be when a team that represents Malaysia has to look to foreign sponsors to partially fund their participation in an international sports event? According to The Star in today’s report “Spurned by local sponsors”, Special Olympics Malaysia chairman Joseph Lau Tee Sun “couriered and faxed letters to the Youth and Sports Ministry, the Education Ministry and the Women, Family and Community Development Ministry” and “only the Youth and Sports Ministry sent a letter dated Aug 8 stating that it had no funds.”
Guess where all the funds of the Youth and Sports Ministry went to. Paying RM224 for a set of four screwdrivers that costs RM40, among others, according to the Auditor General’s Report as reported by The Star on September 9 2007 in “Paying through those nose for tools“.
According to Joseph Lau, “the total expenses for the trip works out to RM150,000, including food, accommodation, training and sports attire. Eight coaches and two officials will accompany the athletes.” That is a paltry sum as compared to what the government paid for 13 items highlighted in the Auditor General’s Report where “the Government paid RM8.39mil more than the market price at that time.”
That is correct. While we do not have the funds to support deserving athletes participating in the 2007 Special Olympics World Summer Games in Shanghai next month, we have enough money to squander RM8mil more than what those 13 items were worth.
In the end, Royal Brunei Airlines stepped forward to sponsor half the airfares. Even Malaysia Airlines, our national airlines that had to be bailed out several times with taxpayers’ money refused to do anything to assist those athletes. So what if Malaysia Airlines won international awards for its service and other whatnots? It certainly is not going to win any award for its corporate social responsibility. And as for the Ministry of Women, Family and Community Development, lets not talk about Malaysia as a masyarakat penyanyang. This episode has proved otherwise, especially when the government is not playing its part. Apa macam Malaysia?
Sunday September 23, 2007
Spurned by local sponsors
By CHRISTINA KOH
Special athletes get help from Brunei to get to Shanghai.
IPOH: After months of failing to get any help locally, 20 athletes from the Special Olympics Malaysia squad sought the assistance of a foreign airline to help fund their airfares.
And much to their relief, Royal Brunei Airlines agreed to sponsor half the airfares to enable the athletes to participate in the 2007 Special Olympics World Summer Games in Shanghai next month.
We are going: Lau assuring some of the special athletes who will be representing Malaysia during the 2007 Special Olympics World Summer Games in Shanghai next month.
Special Olympics Malaysia chairman Joseph Lau Tee Sun said it would be the first time that Malaysia would be represented in the international event on merit, as its previous participation was by invitation only.
“A country can only officially take part in the World Special Olympics after hosting its own national Special Olympics games, which we did last year in Kota Kinabalu,” he added.
Lau, a Taiping municipal councillor, said he was deeply disappointed that no state or federal agency he approached was willing to sponsor even a “fraction” of the expenses. Even Malaysia Airlines turned down his request for assistance.
The total expenses for the trip works out to RM150,000, including food, accommodation, training and sports attire. Eight coaches and two officials will accompany the athletes.
“Since early this year, I couriered and faxed letters to the Youth and Sports Ministry, the Education Ministry and the Women, Family and Community Development Ministry,” he said, adding that only the Youth and Sports Ministry sent a letter dated Aug 8 stating that it had no funds.
Lau felt that the lack of interest on the part of the authorities here could be due to a lack of awareness on the sporting event.
“People think the Special Olympics is just a telematch, but it is much more than that. Almost 7,500 athletes from 165 countries will be competing,” he added.
To cut costs, Lau said the contingent would rent batik shirts from Terengganu for the opening parade and formal events.
The athletes, aged between 15 and 28, will compete in athletics, bowling and bocce (a precision sport closely related to bowls) at the games scheduled from Oct 2 to 11.
American Eunice Kennedy Shriver founded the Special Olympics World Games in 1968 for people with intellectual disabilities to compete in 30 Olympic-type summer and winter sports.