IT has seldom been discussed openly as Malaysians tend not to gripe about their salary but it is a well-known fact that local coaches are not as well paid compared to their foreign counterparts.
The Malaysian Karate Federation (Makaf) secretary Datuk Nur Azmi Ahmad pointed this out when he said NSC could do better by offering locals better remunerations.
“Salary scale should be based on the achievements of the relevant sports.
“But it’s sad that a local coach only gets a five per cent salary increase in two years.
“Why is it that a foreign coach of a glamour sport can be paid highly and yet have no achievements to show?
“Is it fair to the locals if they are only paid RM4,000 but are expected to deliver like a foreign coach?” he asked.
There have been countless national athletes who retired after years of service to the country and were hoping to contribute back to the sport through coaching roles.
But they have been forced to look beyond Malaysia to continue living their dreams of nurturing young talents.
Former world junior champion Ong Beng Hee put squash on the world map when he became the country’s first-ever world junior champion in 1998 but had to head abroad where the offers were more lucrative.
Beng Hee moved to Qatar and is now the technical director for their squash federation.
The former world No. 7 has been there since 2017 and has made a name for himself in revamping the grassroots programme in the country.
Former Commonwealth Games keirin champion Josiah Ng is another example.
After retiring a few years ago, he had to look elsewhere for a job.
Josiah accepted a coaching offer in Thailand and sprung a huge surprise when he guided Jai Angsuthasawit to the keirin gold at the Indonesia Asian Games in 2018.
The Thai beat hot favourite Azizulhasni Awang to claim his country’s first-ever Asiad cycling gold.
Despite his success, Josiah was again overlooked by the national team.
Sarawak duly snapped him up and he is now in charge of preparing the state’s cyclists for the Johor Sukma in 2022.
A take-home pay of RM2,000 to RM4,000 a month depending on the qualifications is far from sufficient especially in the Klang Valley and it is perhaps time for the Youth and Sports Ministry to review the salary scale.
National sports associations also can take the initiative by sourcing for sponsors and other revenues to provide better remuneration to their coaches.
Well-heeled associations like the Badminton Association of Malaysia and the Football Association of Malaysia have done this with great success.
Here’s hoping that better recognition is given to the locals and not allow their passion for the game to fizzle out.
After all, they are entrusted with churning out the next generation of world-beaters.