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The long-awaited pension scheme for the national athletes, which was announced by Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak yesterday, was greeted with delight by the Malaysian sports fraternity.
The 138 athletes from 18 sports under the 2006 Gemilang Project for the Doha Asian Games will be given special attention by the National Sports Council (NSC).
World number one golfer Vijay Singh had once applied to be a Malaysian permanent resident (PR) but was rejected. However, the authorities might have done him a favour.
The Malaysian contingent to the Manila SEA Games in the Philippines next November will, for the first time, don uniform national jerseys.
A special unit will be formed under the National Sports Council (NSC) to pay the fixed monthly allowance to Olympic Games medallists.
The government's decision to give monthly pensions to Olympic Games medallists was lauded by the national athletes. But there is a plea to extend the scheme to non-Olympic sports. Top woman bowler Shalin Zulkilfi said that she hopes athletes from the non-Olympic sports would not be left out.