Malaysia’s Sports Minister Suggests Avoiding Commonwealth Games Hosting If It Requires Public Funding

Commonwealth Games

Malaysia’s Sports Minister Suggests Avoiding Commonwealth Games Hosting If It Requires Public Funding

On Thursday, Malaysia’s Youth and Sports Minister, Hannah Yeoh, expressed concerns over utilizing public funds for the 2026 Commonwealth Games, suggesting that Malaysia might reconsider hosting the event. This comes in the wake of the original host, Victoria, Australia, withdrawing due to escalating costs. 

The withdrawal has sparked a debate over the Games’ value and relevance. The Commonwealth Games Federation (CGF) has proposed a 100 million pound ($127.93 million) support package for Malaysia to take over as host, a topic slated for cabinet discussion soon.

Despite the financial backing from the CGF, the proposition has elicited mixed reactions, especially regarding expenses and the limited time for preparation. 

The Malaysian Olympic Council has proposed a scaled-back version of the Games to curb expenditure, particularly on athlete accommodations and the scale of the opening and closing ceremonies.

Minister Yeoh, addressing the parliament, underscored the importance of capping spending to the CGF’s contribution to safeguard public funds. “If taxpayers’ monies have to be spent, then perhaps the best choice that will be made by this government is not to host the event,” Yeoh stated, indicating that the final decision rests with the cabinet.

Additionally, she mentioned the ministry’s intention to establish a regulatory body to oversee the Games’ financial management, should Malaysia proceed with hosting. Malaysia has the experience of hosting the Commonwealth Games back in 1998, adding a historical perspective to the current deliberations.

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