Premier: Sarawak will co-host 2027 SEA Games if Putrajaya approves Kuching for opening ceremony

Malay Mail
Malay Mail

KUCHING, June 23 — Sarawak has accepted to co-host the 2027 South-east Asian (SEA) Games together with the federal government on condition that the opening ceremony will be held in Kuching while the closing ceremony can be held in Putrajaya.

Premier Tan Sri Abang Johari Openg said the state government also wants major sporting events to be held in Kuching.

“If these conditions are met, we will accept to co-host the SEA Games with the federal government, and it is not a problem for us,” he said at the last leg of the baton run for the 21st edition of Malaysian Games (Sukma XXI) to be hosted in Sarawak from August 17 to 24 and Para Sukma from September 22 to 28, 2024.

He said Sarawak was approached to co-host with the federal government due to the high budget for staging the SEA Games.

“We say we can, but the conditions must be met,” he said.

He added that after Vietnam, it is Malaysia’s turn to hold the biennial sporting events.

The premier said it would be an embarrassment if Malaysia skips hosting the games on grounds of high budget to be incurred.

“The Sarawak government will make efforts to be the co-host based on the Malaysian nationalism spirit and the spirit to search for new talents in sports,” he said.

The premier also urged Sarawak athletes and officials to make early preparations, saying that SEA Games is only three years away now.

“I will give my full support towards this effort,” he said.

Speaking to reporters later, the premier said it will cost RM750 million to host the SEA Games.

He said Sarawak will share half of the estimated budget.

“This is a good opportunity for us to see the talents of our athletes and also to compete with athletes from other countries,” he said.

Abang Johari said the federal Minister of Youth and Sports Hannah Yeoh has spoken to state Youth, Sports and Entrepreneur Development Minister Datuk Seri Abdul Karim Rahman Hamzah on co-hosting the SEA Games.

“Prime Minister Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim had also unofficially informed me about it while I was in Kuala Lumpur,” he said.

He said the state government is prepared to be the co-host because sports is one of the post-Covid-19 Development Strategy 2030 (PCDS 2030) agenda.

The baton run for Sukma XXI started in Lawas on April 27 and ended here today.

A total of 37 sports involving 488 events will staged in Kuching (25 sports), Samarahan (3), Simanggang (1), Betong (1), Sibu (3), Mukah (3), Bintulu (3) and Miri (6).

Sukma XXI will see 12,000 athletes and officials from 15 contingents, including Brunei, participating.