FORMER Perak state athletes and coaches are now entitled to various benefits through a special welfare card.
State youth, sports and human development committee chairman Howard Lee Chuan How said the benefits include small-scale aid and healthcare-related services.
“For now, they are entitled to some healthcare benefits like cutting the queue to get on the fast lane at government hospitals.
“They are also entitled to ward upgrades through this card, ” he told reporters at the state Youth and Sports Department building in Ipoh.
“Negotiations are in place to add more benefits to the card.
“We have met several potential partners from the private sector such as grocery stores that are interested in sponsoring healthy food.
“Others have suggested providing industrial training for cardholders where jobs might be offered to them once they complete the courses, ” he added.
Lee said the card is only available to those who have represented the state in the Malaysia Games (Sukma) or at international sporting events.
“They also need to be registered members of sports associations to apply for the card, ” he said.
“We will meet with several companies to discuss adding more sponsors, ” he added.
Two former state athletes, Datuk A. Victor and Zainal Abidin Mat Yen, received the cards together with RM1,000 cash for their medical expenses.
“Victor has represented our country in athletics in the SEA Games, Commonwealth Games and Olympics while Zainal Abidin made us proud in rugby at the Asian level.
“Among rugby players, he was known as the fastest side-step player in the world.
“These athletes deserve to be appreciated for their hard-earned achievements, ” he said.On a separate matter, Lee also announced a special allocation of RM245,000 to 49 registered sports associations in Perak.
“Each association will be given RM5,000 to help with its operations.
“This is a yearly allocation and we hope to get more next year.
“We will continue to channel aid to sports associations in Perak.
“We hope that the aid will inspire the associations to be more active and contribute to a better sporting environment in Perak, ” he added.