Youth and Sports Minister Khairy Jamaluddin getting a feel of the 50m free pistol at the launch of the 37th South-East Asian Shooting (SEASA) Championships at the National Shooting Range. Looking on are Malaysian shooting team manager Datuk Sabiamad Abdul Ahad (left) and National Sports Council (NSC) director-general Datuk Seri Zolkples Embong (second from left).
SUBANG JAYA: Malaysia is set to take the SEA Games to Sabah and Sarawak for the first time after the Cabinet approved the Youth and Sports Ministry’s proposal to host the 2017 Games.
But only selected sports will be held there. For example, aquatics would be held in Sarawak.
Youth and Sports Minister Khairy Jamaluddin revealed that the proposal to host the Games was approved by the Cabinet last week and that his ministry will now look into the cost involved.
“By right, we are only supposed to be hosts in 2019,” said Khairy.
“But Brunei, who were supposed to take the 2017 Games, have requested to be hosts in 2019 so as to allow them more time to prepare and the SEA Games Federation then turned to us.
“Naturally, we can’t refuse them even though it’s two years ahead for us. With the Cabinet’s approval, I have asked the Olympic Council of Malaysia (OCM) to submit a formal proposal to the SEA Games Federation.
“We will not be building any new infrastructure for the Games, with the exception of the velodrome in Nilai. After all, this is a sensitive time financially, especially when the Government is trying to reduce the deficit,” Khairy said after launching the 37th South-East Asian Shooting (SEASA) Championships at the National Shooting Range on Tuesday.
“Basically, we will only upgrade and repair existing infrastructure and there will not be a new Games Village either ... we will make do with the hotels that we have.
“It is also not confirmed yet, but we will definitely try to bring a few events to Sabah and Sarawak ... cost permitting.
“We’re looking at Sarawak for aquatics – swimming and diving – since there is a world class aquatic centre there but we will study the cost involved first.
“But that is not all as we are also looking to have sailing in Langkawi, track cycling in Nilai at the new velodrome and possibly road cycling in Johor.”
Meanwhile, Khairy also praised the National Shooting Association of Malaysia (NSAM) for taking the initiative to co-host the SEASA Championships.
The Philippines were supposed to host it but were unable to following structural changes in their shooting association. NSAM then took up the offer to host the meet.
“I’d like to congratulate NSAM and SEASA president Ally Ong for the SEASA shooting championships, which has not only helped develop shooters within the member countries, but also produced credible and successful shooters to compete in the global arena,” said Khairy.
Malaysia will have the biggest squad for the seven-day championships, which start Thursday, with 112 shooters competing in rifle, pistol and shotgun events.
Olympians Nur Suryani Mohd Taibi, Hasli Izwan Amir Hassan, Bibiana Cheah and Nur Ayuni Farhana Halim are expected to deliver while 20-year-old Benjamin Khor should also defend his double trap gold.
Last year, Malaysia emerged overall champions with a final medal tally of 33-7-12.