Sports industry in this country is still considered as a young and emerging sector. And 10 years ago, sports contributed about RM10 million for the country but today, nobody knows about the exact figure of the young industry.
Some might say the sports industry today is worth millions of Ringgit but no government agency has statistics of the import, export or other business data related to the industry.
That's the finding of Malaysia Sports Industry Convention 2009 (Kismas 09) which was held at Berjaya Times Square Convention Centre in Kuala Lumpur, Friday.
The 500 participants of the two-day convention which started today, were told that Malaysia -- as the favourite destination for international sports events -- has yet to set up a designated department or unit in related government agencies to monitor the cash flow of our Ringgit or foreign currencies.
Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak, when officiating the convention, admitted that Malaysia had yet to set up its own data base to collect all information related to the sports industry.
"We're still gathering all the facts. Only then will we know the contribution of the sports industry to our economy," he said.
One of the speakers at the convention, Universal Fitness Leisure Sdn Bhd (UFL) managing director Datuk Radha Krishnan, was quite vocal when questioning the fact that there was no agency to monitor the cash flow of the sports industry.
He cited Sukan Malaysia (Sukma) which was held every two years, in that RM30 to RM40 million was allocated per chapter, but how much money generated from the event was not documented.
He said the sports industry should not be limited to just sporting apparel or equipment but must also include a diversity of activities such as wholesale, retailing, sports tourism, construction and certain aspect of manufacturing.
"However, the problem with Malaysia is that our local producers do not see their role as the global manufacturer," he said in his paper, `Business Strategies in Sports Industry'.
The general manager for High Performance Centre in New Zealand, Martin Toomey, said the relevant authorities must have the right attitude when giving scholarships to athletes.
"When you give scholarships, you are not contributing but your are investing," he said when tabling a paper, `The Impact of the Sports Industry on a Nation's Performance'.
He said New Zealand, with just 4.3 million people, had three per cent or 37,500 of the population involved in the sport industry, and generated about US$75 billion (RM272 billion) annually from the sector.
Dr T. J. Rosandich of the United States Sports Academy said Malaysia was lucky to have a dedicated youth and sports ministry, National Sports Council and National Sports Institute.
He said that in the USA, there was no dedicated government department or agency to take care of sport.
Tabling his paper, 'Sports Education - Empowering the Industry', Rosandich said the six million school students and 22,000 high school students in the USA were monitored by their respective state sport bodies.
"And, the majority of the sport bodies are run on a voluntarily basis," he said.