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STATEMENT: SPORT FOR DEVELOPMENT AND PEACE [ITEM 11], 1 DECEMBER 2020

STATEMENT BY 
MR. MUHAMMAD MUHAIMIN BIN RASIDI 
REPRESENTATIVE OF MALAYSIA

ON ITEM 11: SPORT FOR DEVELOPMENT AND PEACE

AT THE PLENARY MEETING OF 
THE 75TH SESSION OF THE UNITED NATIONS GENERAL ASSEMBLY

NEW YORK, 1 DECEMBER 2020

 

 

Mr. President,

Malaysia strongly believes in the utility of sport as an important enabler for sustainable development especially in the field of promoting development and peace. We remain convinced that sport is a powerful tool as it possesses a universal value that unites people. It is a significant element that binds people together and contributes in developing patriotism and unity in our nation. Malaysia has witnessed how sports has been able to bridge gaps among the diverse communities in the country towards enhancing nation building process.

2.   In support of the objective of “no one is left behind”, the Ministry of Youth and SportsAll activities and programs planned are with the objective of ensuring inclusivity of participation and implementation at all levels including national, states, districts and sports associations, clubs, and at NGO levels through a multi-stakeholder approach.

3.   “Sports for All’ for example, is an idea to encourage Malaysians to develop a healthy and active lifestyle by cultivating interest in sports, physical exercise and recreational activities. Translating this idea into context, Malaysia has mobilized several key programs such as “Fit Malaysia”, “National Sports Day”, “Women in Sports”, “e-Sports”, “Traditional Sport Games” and others. All these programs include policies of ensuring inclusivity in sporting events, with the participation of person with disabilities (PWDs), women, family and senior citizens. It also requires the upgrading of sport facilities and infrastructure as well as increasing sport education and awareness programs. All this is with the aim of achieving the aspiration of becoming a Sporting Nation. Initiatives are also tailored to ensure alignment with SDG 4 on Quality Education and SDG 5 on Gender Equality.

Mr. President,

4.   Similar to many countries in the world, Malaysia is adversely affected by COVID-19 in many ways, including in the sports and recreational field. Movement restrictions imposed have resulted in three main challenges for Malaysia. Firstly, to keep the people healthy and active while being home-bound. Secondly, to ensure the survival of businesses in the sports and recreational industry. Thirdly, to maintain the fitness and performance of our athletes and the public at large.

5.  Realizing the importance of leading a healthy and active lifestyle despite being confined at home, Malaysia initiated various activities leveraging on technology and digitalization platforms. Some of the activities include virtual fitness programs, e-Sports competitions, and healthy lifestyle tutorials suitable for individuals and families as well as webinars on various topics.

6.   Special COVID-19-related SOPs were also developed to allow national athletes who have qualified to the Tokyo Olympic and Paralympic Games to continue training at various training institutions in order to maintain their performance levels, which was later expanded to other athletes, general sport activities and opening of sports facilities and sports-related businesses.

7.   Malaysia also launched a special ‘Sports Fund’ which has assisted thousands of National Sports Associations and other registered sports bodies to reopen their businesses, organize sporting activities, adoption of digitalization measures and promote Research and Development activities in sports. In addition, Malaysia has launched the National Coaching Academy which harnesses the digital platform for implementation of meetings, discussions and talks pertaining to sports and physical activities.

8.   A National Athletes Welfare Foundation was also established to support former national athletes who were impacted by the pandemic. Other than monetary incentives, the Government granted rental exemptions for usage of sports facilities and premises under the Ministry of Youth and Sports.

 

Mr. President,

9.   A collaborative effort amongst member states is needed to fully overcome the impact of this pandemic. Digital platforms such as forums, webinars and conferences should be utilized by the regional and international intergovernmental organizations to support Member States, including to share and exchange knowledge, expertise, experiences and data in embracing the new norms in the sports arena.

10.  Related to this, Malaysia has participated in various platform including the Commonwealth Ministerial Forum on Impact of COVID-19 on Sport on 23 July 2020; the Tenth ASEAN Senior Officials Meeting on Sports, the Eleventh ASEAN Senior Officials Meeting on Sports and the Third ASEAN Plus Japan Senior Officials Meeting on Sports from 6-10 October 2020; as well as the APEC Sports Policy Network (ASPN) Roundtable Meeting on 24 November 2020.

Mr. President,

11.   The ability of sports to reach millions of people all over the world and its potential to empower, motivate and inspire is universal and has no boundaries. Malaysia will remain a strong advocate for ‘Sports for Development and Peace’. We will continue to contribute to the realization of the ideals of sports as an instrument that promotes social integration, economic development, peace, fraternity, solidarity, non-violence and tolerance. We will also continue to support the notion that sports play an important role in fostering peace, goodwill and healthy competition among nations.

I thank you.