Sat, 09 Oct 1999

KONI hopes for financial assistance from new government

JAKARTA (JP): The National Sports Council (KONI) expects the new government to give financial support to boost sports development in the country, should its ambitious Golden Garuda project be included in the State Policy Guidelines (GBHN).

Togi Hutagaol, KONI's official in charge of planning and budgeting, said on Friday that only the government could help raise fund for sports development at this time, as sport was becoming a national industry.

"We will specify our draft immediately and submit it to the People's Consultative Assembly (MPR). This is merely a concept and should the government accept it, we will prepare a five-year program to accomplish this project," he said after meeting with officials from the office of the state minister of youth affairs and sports, the Ministry of Home Affairs and the Ministry of Education and Culture here on Friday.

Togi said the draft includes plans, among others, to continue sports education from elementary schools to colleges and universities, to build sports and health facilities in schools and housing complexes, to increase professional training for sports teachers and to give rewards to athletes and coaches.

"We also hope the government can create a conducive environment to develop sports business and industries. We want sports bodies to be able to raise fund on their own," he said.

Hopefully in the future, athletes would not have to choose between schools and sports because both activities would go together.

"Sports will be included in the curriculum and outside of it. Sports will be part of education and both can be done at the same time. Athletes will not have to choose between schools or their sports career," he said.

However, Togi failed to mention the deadline for KONI to present the draft to the session on state guidelines for MPR's General Session.

He said KONI would set up a special team to lobby its concept to members of the MPR.

"We plan to lobby MPR members to brief them on the background of sports development," said Togi, without naming team candidate members.

KONI had blamed the national athletes' poor performances in sporting events such as the 1999 Southeast Asian (SEA) Games in Brunei Darussalam, where the country only finished third after Thailand and Malaysia, on lack of financial support.

Through the project, KONI aims to finish sixth in the 2006 Asian Games. Indonesia was 11th with six gold medals in the 1998 Games in Bangkok.

The Rp 24 billion (US$3.1 million) Golden Garuda project was established by the government three years ago.

But KONI official had acknowledged that the project had so far failed to meet the expected results, saying that there had been no special task force to supervise the use of the funds throughout the provinces.

Provinces are authorized to use the funds from the project when they receive the money directly from the Ministry of Home Affairs, which is appointed to distribute the fund.

In the first year of the project, the ministry disbursed Rp 15 billion, while in the second year it distributed Rp 9 billion and Rp 3 billion for the 1998 Asian Games.

Unfortunately, most of the fund was not used to boost sports development in the provinces but to finance the activities of the Civil Servants' Wives Association (Dharma Wanita). (ivy)