KUALA LUMPUR: Prime Minister Datuk Seri Ismail Yaakob (image) said the government would continue to channel aid through the National Athletes Welfare Foundation (YAKEB) in recognition of the services of former athletes who had brought glory to the nation.
He said that the government has recently given an allocation of RM3 million to YAKEB to implement more programs this year such as entrepreneurship courses which can benefit and increase the income of its members.
“When another government ruled the country for 22 months, not only was no contribution paid, but it was proposed to close YAKEB…next year there will be more (allocations for YAKEB) .
“Athletes’ contributions are immense, it is not easy for Jalur Gemilang to be hoisted or for Negaraku to be played overseas unless it is due to the success of our athletes,” said- he said after officiating at YAKEB’s 7th Annual General Meeting here today.
Ismail Sabri also urged YAKEB to be more proactive in helping former national athletes who face problems to avoid being manipulated by certain parties.
The prime minister said such efforts can ease the burden on former athletes who are facing financial problems or seeking medical treatment.
“Sometimes parties try to manipulate these former athletes to their own advantage, especially in the case of a former Paralympic athlete allegedly selling roadside tissues.
“I was informed that YAKEB had already tried to help, including giving a job offer, but was rejected and after being rejected, (the case) ended up falling into the hands of irresponsible parties which gave a bad image to YAKEB and to the ministry”, he said.
Ismail Sabri said that there are many former athletes who have not yet registered with YAKEB, and urged and he wishes that the foundation tries to register more former athletes to ensure that the help can be provided as best as possible.
Meanwhile, Ismail Sabri has also tasked Minister of Youth and Sports Datuk Seri Ahmad Faizal Azumu to identify vacant land belonging to the Ministry of Youth and Sports for the purpose of constructing YAKEB’s own building.
“Insya-Allah, after that you can do the costing and ask the government for the cost of construction,” he said.
Ismail Sabri said having its own building will allow YAKEB to organize programs and classes more systematically in a larger facility for the benefit of its members. – Bernama