OCM still working on proposed Olympians pension scheme structure

KUALA LUMPUR: Olympic Council of Malaysia (OCM) president Tan Sri Mohamad Norza Zakaria said they are still working on the structure regarding the proposed pension scheme for Olympians.

He said OCM are continuously working with the Youth and Sports Ministry (KBS) and National Sports Council (NSC) on the legislation process of the proposal mooted last year.

Norza said discussions were also being held to extend the scheme to athletes from non-Olympic sports who have achieved a higher level of success in the international arena.

“So, I think this is broad and comprehensive… we are also waiting for engagement from the KBS and NSC to take the matter to the highest level soonest possible. It was initially mooted for Olympians but now, with NSC’s help, (we are) expanding (it) to other athletes, which will be detailed later.

“Recently, I also pushed for the Employees Provident Fund (EPF) and Sosco (contributions) for athletes at the NSC Board. It was received positively by the (KBS) minister Datuk Seri Reezal Merican Naina Merican,” he told a press conference after chairing the OCM Executive Board meeting at Wisma OCM here today.

Last November, the media reported that OCM had proposed for the pension scheme to be included under Budget 2021 to help ease the burden of national athletes who had sacrificed a lot for the country’s glory at the Olympics and equivalent level competitions, like the world championships.

A month later, Reezal Merican told the Dewan Rakyat that the ministry was discussing the pension scheme with various sports organisations and that the proposal would be brought to the Cabinet soon.

Currently, only Olympic Games medallists are entitled to a pension.

Meanwhile, Norza said the pension scheme proposal was part of OCM’s efforts to encourage the future generation to consider being athletes as a career path that can provide security.

“Most importantly is to make sports or becoming an athlete as their career choice. This is because many potential athletes used to have second thoughts about the matter because there is no guarantee about the future.

“I feel that by making this known now is to make sure there is a guarantee for our athletes should they face any uncertainties, such as the Covid-19 pandemic. We are pushing very hard… I think the NSC are putting it as a priority,” he added. – Bernama