06 May 2014

Singapore Should Not Co-Host 2019 Asian Games

Vietnam announced last month that it would not be hosting the 2019 Asian Games due to its lack of preparedness and costs, estimated at US$500 million.

The Asian Games, which were held for the first time in 1951, have grown to consist of around 40 sports with 10,000 athletes from 45 countries taking part. Host nations are put under tremendous pressure to build infrastructure and accommodation to stage the world's second largest multi-sport event.

Singapore National Olympic Council ("SNOC") vice-president Ng Ser Miang said on 18 April that Singapore was not interested in bidding to take over as hosts.

Then a fortnight later, Olympic Council of Malaysia president Imran Jaafar said that a joint bid between Malaysia and Singapore was feasible, so as to split the costs. It is not clear whether Mr Imran had consulted his Singapore counterparts.

Mr Imran also said that the profit sharing formula between the Olympic Council of Asia and the host (or hosts) needed to be reviewed as it favoured the former too much and put a financial burden on the host.

When asked, SNOC secretary-general Chris Chan replied, "Only the Singapore government can decide if it wants to make a bid to host the Asian Games."

Hopefully common sense will prevail and the Government will not consider co-hosting the 2019 Asian Games.

The Government should not let descriptions such as "rich" or "wealthy" Singapore go to its head and cause it to think or act irrationally.

Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Finance has already cautioned more than once that the Government will soon need to look for new sources of revenue to fund increasing social expenditure. There will be immense unhappiness if some of the tax revenue from a GST rate hike, for example, is used to fund the Asian Games.

The cost of hosting the Asian Games is not money well spent. It may boost the egos and/or the stature of some individuals, but it will be an expensive undertaking.

Singapore does not need to spend hundreds of millions of dollars on a futile, short-term publicity drive for the country that has little lasting impact or to show that it can organise a large-scale multi-sport event.

If Malaysia wants to host the Asian Games, it can do what it wants by itself; let's not get sucked into our neighbour's crazy scheme. If no other country wants to bid to host the 2019 Asian Games, it probably shows the economic unattractiveness of hosting the event. Singapore has no obligation to co-host the Asian Games.

Co-hosting the Asian Games is an undertaking that the Singapore Government simply cannot justify. Let's not repeat the mistake of the 2010 Youth Olympics.

1 comment:

  1. i think your view is wrong, sports brings the community together, and in times like this where Singapore is so fragmented, perhaps we need something to remind ourselves what the Singapore spirit is about.