PRIME Minister Datuk Sri Najib Tun Razak yesterday officially launched the
1Mas Hockey Project and injected fresh hope into the sport by increasing
its grant by another RM1 million.
The Prime Minister's department had earlier handed out RM2 million per
-year for the 1Mas Project, but upped it with another million at at the
official launch at the Tun Razak Stadium.
And there was more good news, as the Prime Minister had no objection
to the Malaysian Hockey Federation's (MHF) request to utilise the Tun
Razak Stadium free of charge.
The 1Mas programme had started at the middle of the year, and its
objective is to strengthen the base of hockey at state level. Fourteen states
were represented, with their young players, at the launch yesterday.
"Hockey is a sport which is close to the hearts of Malaysians as we have
played at world cups and Olympics. I remember very well the year 1975,
when I just returned from overseas and was a youth with much more hair,
the nation was hosting the World Cup and we were in the semi-finals.
"My late father was the then MHF president and the joy on his face was
obvious when we qualified for the last four. The whole country was in a
celebration mood, and I hope with this 1Mas programme, the sport will
slowly climb up the ladder again," said Najib.
The national players, who won silver in the Asian Games, were also
present at the function.
MHF president Tengku Abdulah Sultan Ahmad Shah then requested the
Prime Minister's support to secure a home base for the Federation: "I have
no problem with the request, work with the Sports Ministry to achieve the
goal," was the reply from Najib.
"This stadium was opened in 1982 by my father, who was the King then,
and he named it the Tun Razak Stadium. It is very close to my heart, and
since the Prime Minister has given his support, we will work with the
relevant agencies to secure it as a home base for MHF and training venue
for the national teams (junior and senior).
"The MHF do not want to own it, because the cost to maintain the
stadium is out of our league. All we will request, is to use it for free, as we
are currently paying a hefty sum to rent the national stadium (at Bukit
Jalil)," said Tengku Abdullah.
The 1Mas Project started in July with 840 players in 14 states from the
ages of 13-18. Next year, the programme will include under-12 players, and
the targeted number of players to undergo the programme is 2,100 by
There is a standard nationwide training curriculum: "The RM3 million
pledge is for the next three years, with an option for review. The system
should strengthen the base, like a pyramid, and then, the nation can be
assured of quality players to represent the country at major international
events," said the Prime Minister.