Malaysia considers ‘downsized’ Commonwealth Games or collaboration with Singapore, ministers to discuss issue this week

The Olympic Council of Malaysia (OCM) said on Monday it is considering holding a “scaled-down” Commonwealth Games in 2026, but the final decision rests with the government.

The Commonwealth Games Federation (CGF) is scrambling to find a venue after the Australian state of Victoria abruptly withdrew in July last year, citing soaring costs.

“For example, there is no need to include 15 sports. It could be held in 10 sports, and the opening and closing ceremonies could be reduced,” said OCM Secretary-General Mohammad Natihuddin Najib.

The late Queen Elizabeth attended the 1998 Commonwealth Games, the last time Malaysia hosted the games.Photo: Associated Press

He also suggested several measures to reduce costs, such as using standard hotels and lodging facilities to house athletes and officials instead of building a dedicated tournament village.

He told reporters that Malaysia may direct some of the budget for the 2027 Southeast Asian Games to the Commonwealth Games.

“So we can discuss all of that, but we will leave the decision to the cabinet.”

Malaysian Sports Minister Hanna Yeo confirmed that the government is considering plans to host the Olympics and said ministers will discuss the matter this week.

“The most important thing is to ensure that when decisions are made, they are taken after considering all angles,” she was quoted as saying by the newspaper. New Straits Times.

Malaysia previously hosted this event in 1998.

Malaysian Sports Minister Hannah Yeoh confirmed that the Malaysian government is considering hosting the Olympics.

Victoria’s sudden move and lack of obvious alternatives has sparked debate over the future of the Olympics, which are held every four years and were last held in Birmingham in 2022.

Malaysia announced last week that the CGF had offered a “significant financial investment of £100 million (HK$996 million)” to help the Southeast Asian country host the Olympics.

However, opposition has emerged over the possibility of hosting the Olympics, with a former sports minister criticizing the idea as “reckless” because the Olympics are just over two years away.

However, the CGF suggested that Malaysia is not the only country that could potentially host the Olympics in 2026.

Singapore, which is aiming to host larger sporting events, said last week it was “evaluating the feasibility” of hosting the CGF.

The wealthy city-state hosts the annual Formula 1 night race and is scheduled to host the World Aquatics Championships in 2025.

In 2010, the Youth Olympics were also held in Singapore.

The quadrennial Commonwealth Games were last held in Birmingham, England in 2022.Photo: Reuters

Some observers have argued that both Malaysia and Singapore should co-host the event, a point also raised by OCM.

“There is a possibility that we can work with Singapore, but there is also a possibility that Singapore will decide to take over as host, and we are missing out on this opportunity,” Natifuddin said.

“A significantly scaled-down tournament would be more viable, but it would still require significant funding,” said Son Seng-woong, an economic adviser at CGS International.

He told AFP that a joint bid could be “the only solution on paper”.

“Singapore is too small and needs more infrastructure investment,” Mr Song said.

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