Ministry proposes sports premises, gyms be allowed to operate

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KUALA LUMPUR (Sept 8): The Ministry of Youth and Sports (KBS) has proposed that sports premises such as fields and gyms be given relaxation to operate, said its Minister Datuk Seri Ahmad Faizal Azumu.

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He hopes that the Ministry of Health (MoH) led by Khairy Jamaluddin would also support the proposal to get the approval of the National Security Council (MKN).

“Cinemas are open? Gyms, sports fields? Maybe [they] need to be opened with strict [Covid-19 prevention] SOPs (standard operating procedures). Many almost have stopped ‘breathing’. Please,” he said in a post on his Twitter account today.

Yesterday, Prime Minister Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob announced permission to operate cinemas at 50% capacity for fully vaccinated individuals, which gives relief to more than a million creative industry players, artists and workers.

The government had also previously given relaxation to people in areas under Phase 1 of the National Recovery Plan (PPN) to do outdoor sports activities individually without contact, such as cycling, jogging, skateboarding, fishing, equestrian, exercise, taichi, archery and climbing.

Also allowed are motor sport, golf, singles events for badminton and tennis, as well as the opening of premises selling sports equipment, but operations of sports facilities such as badminton courts, futsal, bowling centres and gymnasiums have yet to receive the green light.

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Meanwhile, the National Sports and Fitness Venue Owners and Operators Association (NSFVOOA) said it had presented a proposal comprising guidelines, SOPs and recommendations for the safe reopening of the sector and safeguarding its long-term sustainability in a meeting with KBS recently.

Its president Datuk V Radhakrishnan said this includes financial aid programmes for gym and fitness facility operators, fiscal incentives and grassroots programmes to educate and encourage the public to adopt a healthy, active lifestyle.

“The benefits of exercising and physical activities are manifold and well documented. We firmly believe that fitness is part of the solution in Malaysia’s long-term fight against not just Covid-19, but also its national health agenda.

“Whether it is mental health issues, non-communicable diseases like diabetes, cardiovascular problems or obesity, increasing the presence of antibodies post vaccination as well as reducing risk of contracting severe Covid-19, fitness and regular physical activities are the answers.

“Finally, given that several other industries such as entertainment and driving schools were given the green light to reopen yesterday, we are hopeful that the fitness industry is next in line,” he said in a statement today.-BERNAMA


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