Budget 2023: Mixed reaction towards lower allocation for esports

The announcement of a lower RM13mil allocation for esports in Budget 2023 – compared to RM20mil for Budget 2022 announced last year – was met with disappointment in some quarters. — AFP

PETALING JAYA: Juwita Jalil, head of communications for Malaysia Electronic Sports Federation (MESF), had been optimistic that the allocation for esports in the new budget tabled today would be higher than the previous year’s.

So it came as a rude shock that the sum announced was RM7mil less than the sum in the previous budget, particularly as the country had performed well on the international stage in the past year.

“We are upset with the reduced budget despite the achievements we have accomplished internationally. We were hoping that there would be an increase because our esports athletes have been proving themselves time and time again,” she said.

The achievements of local esports athletes this year include three gold medals at the Commonwealth Esports Championships in Birmingham, England, and three bronze medals at the SEA Games in Hanoi, Vietnam.

The announcement of a lower RM13mil allocation for esports in Budget 2023 – compared to RM20mil for Budget 2022 announced last year – was therefore met with mixed reactions.

Esports caster Muhammad Farouq Abdul Patah said he was less focused on the amount than how it would be apportioned, adding that he would like to see more efforts to ensure that allocations for esports was spent “correctly and transparently”.

“The amount does not matter if the budget is not utilised for the development of esports in the nation. There needs to be an understanding on the difference between development of esports and local game publishers,” he added.

He said relevant esports stakeholders should have an open discussion to better understand the needs of the local esports ecosystem.

However Ahmed Faris Amir, the CEO of Esports Integrated (ESI), said RM13mil is still a good amount.

“Despite it being lower than the previous years, it still reflects the attention and support the government has towards the ever-growing esports industry,” he said.

Esports was previously granted RM15mil under Budget 2021, RM20mil in Budget 2020 and RM10mil in Budget 2019.

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