Another appeal launched to get local golf industry reopened

Golf clubs across Malaysia continue to be adversely affected by the lockdown

THE Malaysian Golf Association’s (MGA) have launched a latest bid to get the local industry a reprieve from the lockdown and have done so by making a submission to the Prime Minister.

The national association today (July 2 said their president Admiral (R) Tan Sri Setia Mohd Anwar Mohd Nor had written to Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin, wherein the MGA “appealed for the resumption of all golf and golf related activities”.

Mohd Anwar said that these “long periods of closure of the operations of golf clubs have caused the loss of livelihoods of many of the more than 38,000 employees”.

He said the MGA as the governing body of golf in Malaysia took upon itself to hold meetings with officials from the National Security Council, Health Ministry, Youth & Sports Ministry and the National Sports Council.

“Simultaneously, the MGA has continued to engage various departments and agencies to coordinate various golf operations SOPs from as early as June 2020.

He noted that while the Covid 19 pandemic had devastated lives and the economic well-being of nations around the world, Malaysian golf was not spared, both economically and health wise.

Mohd Anwar said central to the argument presented to Government for the fast reopening of golf clubs was the golf industry has over the years, significantly contributed towards the financial and economic growth of the nation as an economic activity.

MGA secretary Datuk Zulkifli Ismail said “a survey was conducted in the second week of June 2021 of golf clubs in Malaysia “to gauge and find out the financial impact of the pandemic on their (the golf clubs) financial well-being.

“From the survey, it is evident that apart from those golf clubs that remain as subsidiaries of listed companies, the greater number of golf clubs that are privately owned would most certainly experience insolvency challenges and many could cease operations as early as July of 2021,” said Zulkifli.

He added that “it is highly likely that the management at most golf clubs, particularly those in smaller towns like in Kuantan, Kuala Terengganu, Perlis, Kinta and Batu Pahat, will retrench employees as early as July of 2021 if operations clubs do not resume soonest”.

Mohd Anwar also pointed out that caddies at golf clubs are “low-income earners and are the biggest percentage of employees engaged by golf clubs.

“Fees and incentives are only payable upon the resumption of golf related activities. The movement control order (MCO) has literally deprived them of their daily livelihoods (fees and incentives).”

Chong Chee Ming, president of the Professional Golfers Association of Malaysia (PGAM) said that “besides caddies, golf professional players’ incomes have been severely affected since last year as professional golf tournaments have been suspended”.

He added that “if the lockdown continues, about 300 professional players would hit rock bottom (if they have not already)”.

Mohd Anwar said that apart from golf being a direct revenue generating activity for the local economy, “golf is actively pursued by many Malaysians regardless of age as an outdoor recreational activity, and is popular among senior golfers, similar to other open-air recreational pursuits like cycling and jogging”.

He said the mandatory standard operating procedures issued by the MGA is intended to provide a safe and secure environment for all its members, employees, service providers, guests and visitors to work and play golf without adversely impacting the livelihoods of more than 38,000 persons employed by golf clubs in Malaysia.

Mohd Anwar added while they were grateful to Government for permitting golf clubs to resume the upkeep and maintenance operations of golf course, they had also written letters of appeal to the Menteri Besar of the respective state governments to waive rents payable by golf clubs for the year of assessment 2021.

“Notwithstanding the recently announced National Recovery Plan to manage the pandemic, the MGA will continue to engage with all officials to hasten the reopening of golf clubs, while always being mindful that the final decision rests with Government,” said the MGA president.

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