PUTRAJAYA: State governments should not treat the sports sector like a stepchild when it comes to providing allocations under their state budget, said Youth and Sports Minister Hannah Yeoh (pix).

Hannah said sports allocations are a form of investment by state governments to ensure their athletes get to train in facilities developed by the federal government and handed over to states for maintenance.

“Sports development involves the commitment of state governments. As can be seen from SUKMA (Malaysia Games), if state governments do not invest and do not send athletes, an event can be dropped from SUKMA due to a lack of participation from states.

“That is why for sports to succeed, it’s not only about the involvement of MSN (National Sports Council) but it also requires involvement at the state government level,” she told a press conference here after announcing tax exemptions for sports training today.

Hannah was commenting on a report that women’s futsal and women’s 10-metre platform diving have been dropped from the 21st SUKMA to be held in Sarawak this August.

On April 6, Sarawak Youth, Sports and Entrepreneur Development Minister Datuk Seri Abdul Karim Rahman Hamzah was reported as saying that these two events were dropped due to a lack of participants.

According to Hannah, state government support and investments are crucial to help the Youth and Sports Ministry make a success of its plans to empower the sports sector and athletes in the country.