Still smarting from the controversial case of RM100 million being misappropriated by a senior official from his ministry, Youth and Sports Minister Khairy Jamaluddin was lambasted on social media for handing out “grand prizes” of RM50, RM40 and RM30 ringgit to junior cyclists at a recent cycling competition.
Photos of Khairy handing out giant mock checques to miniscule sportsmen (with even more miniscule cash prize amounts) have gone viral on Facebook.
A photo album of the Junior Cycling Malaysia #PathOfChampions event in MAEPS Serdang posted by Cycling Malaysia Magazine is playing host to a plethora of negative and derisive comments from Malaysian netizens, many of which draw contrasts between the paltry prize value and the massive loss of RM100 million from the ministry’s coffers, which Khairy had described as a “failure of ministry standard operating procedure”.
FB user Arm Haji Abdullah TE commented: “budak2 sukan dapat rm20… pegawai sukan boleh dapat 100juta.. kipidap Malaysia” (“Young athletes get RM20 … sports officers can get away with RM100 million … keep it up Malaysia”), while another comment by Alon Al-Azmee noted that the mock checques probably cost more to print out than the actual value of the prizes themselves.
Still, not everyone was aiming their sights at Khairy’s head. with one sympathetic commenter, Muhammad ‘Niezy’ Nizar, saying, “Its not about the money. Its about the achievement. Winners always focus on the achievement, skills & experience. Money is just a bonus or a token to remember the moment.”
The Junior Cycling Championship event depicted in the photo album took place last Friday and Saturday, and offered prizes to cyclists of varying age classes.
Prizes for young cyclists in the Under 9, Under 11, Under 13, and Under 15 classes ranged from RM10 to RM50. Prizes for competitors aged above 15 years old ranged from RM20 to RM300.
An elite class for serious cyclists offered cash prizes of between RM60 and RM1000, Malaysiakini reports.
Just imagine how much those kids could have won if the Youth and Sports Ministry, you know, had more cash on hand …