The Malaysian Regional Programme (MRP) is part of the Asian Experts Programme (AXP) under chairperson Datuk Paddy Bowie OBE.

This global professional and business networking forum allows members to interact with notable leaders in industry, commercial directors, senior government officials, socio-economic and political analysts and other experts.

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December 2017 Highlights & Commentary

By Maria Townsend 04/01/2018
Just before the December festivities began, Paddy Schubert Consultants were privileged to have Tan Sri Dato’ Seri Tunku Imran as the guest speaker at our Malaysia Regional Programme luncheon.  The luncheon, held at The Pullman Hotel KLCC, was lively and well-received, and provided the perfect start to our end of year celebrations.

  
Tunku Imran is a renowned figure in Malaysia.  He comes from a very distinguished lineage as the son of Tuanku Ja'afar, the former Yang Amat Mulia Tuan of Negeri Sembilan, and the grandson of the first Agong.  Tunku came to us with a wealth of experience and knowledge, and a huge list of achievements in academia, in business and in sport. 

As the current President of the Olympic Council of Malaysia, and member of the International Olympic Committee, Tunku Imran spoke to us about “The effect of sports and the 2017 South East Asian Games on Malaysia”.  He shared personal anecdotes, his views on sport in Malaysia, and the economic consequence of the SEA Games in Malaysia. 

Sport in Malaysia is an important part of Malaysian culture. Malaysia participates in a number of international sporting events including the Olympic Games, the Asian Games, the Commonwealth Games and the Southeast Asian Games, and has played host to a number of these events.  In August, Tunku Imran was pivotal in organising the SEA Games of 2017.  Not only did the success of the event raise Malaysia’s profile internationally, but with a total count of 323 medals, it was also Malaysia's best-ever finish in the history of the SEA Games.

To maintain this excellence in sporting achievement, Tunku Imran believed that it was important to inculcate a sport culture among the young.  Sport should fall under the Ministry of Education, and the country needs to strike a better balance between sports and studies. 

There are so many benefits to Sport that needs to be imparted and preached at grass roots.  It forms a good part of education for its betterment of health; physically and psychologically.  The physical aspect of sport makes it a recreation that keeps people busy and off the streets, teaching team work and honesty, as well as instilling discipline.

Inevitably, politics plays its role in sport.  ‘Sports diplomacy’, the use of sport as a means to influence diplomatic, social and political relations, may transcend cultural differences and bring people together. At an international level, the Olympics is the pinnacle of sport, and are now the biggest peacetime event in modern history.  The Games bring people together across national, ethnic and racial lines.  They represent diversity at its best; uniting races, rather than dividing them.  Sport can be used as an effective political tool.  In the case of Apartheid, the Olympics was used to isolate South Africa and bring about a major overhaul in the country's social structure. 

Closer to home, national sport federations are slowly politicising themselves, causing further segregation when they should be creating camaraderie.  For instance, panjat silat and sepak takraw are run by UMNO, and for far too long the interference of politics has hampered the rightful development of sport in Malaysia.  Sport needs to be used in a positive manner to influence politics. 

Where many observe that Malaysians have never been more divided as a community, it is in sport that the people unite.  The official motto of the 2017 Southeast Asian Games is "Rising Together" or "Bangkit Bersama" in Malay.   It was chosen to highlight unity between the nations in Southeast Asia as well as to signify the Kuala Lumpur games as the first Southeast Asian Games to be held after the formation of the ASEAN Community in 2015.  It perfectly exhibits how sport can unite Malaysians from different walks of life towards a shared goal.  In order to utilize the positive influence that sport can have on our society, the government needs to maintain the independence of sport associations in the country, and ensure a new approach to sport as a part of the country’s educational programme.
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