BERA: Grassroots community sports and cultural arts programmes need to be promoted and empowered to ensure that the people are not forgotten as these activities can become tourist attractions that also help boost income.

Prime Minister Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob said grassroots sports such as gasing, galah panjang, ceper, timbang bola are part of the Malaysian identity and should not be forgotten, especially by the younger generation who have become engrossed in video gaming.

For that, he said relevant parties, such as the Tourism, Arts and Culture Ministry, were told to apply for appropriate allocations from the Finance Ministry to promote Malaysian grassroots sports and cultural arts, Bernama reported.

“However, we must provide suitable infrastructure.

“In Bera, for example, they used to have these kinds of sports every weekend at the Kerayong Square. Such activities did not just attract the locals, but also foreign tourists.

“This can be our platform to reintroduce our dying grassroots sports, cultural arts and even food as they are actually our country’s specialities,” he said after opening the Malaysian Family Community Programme “Hogoh Bera 2020” at Felda Kumai here on Sunday.

Also present were MOTAC Minister Datuk Seri Nancy Shukri and Pahang Mentri Besar Datuk Seri Wan Rosdy Wan Ismail.

Ismail Sabri also said that based on his prior experience as chairman of the Pahang Gasing Pangkah Association, the participation at grassroots level was vital in the efforts to revive these community games and sports.

Organising competitions at various levels could be an avenue to boost the initiative.

He said grassroots sports and cultural performances could also be turned into mandatory shows for tourists, just like the Tari Kecak show in Bali, Indonesia.

He said shows that should be promoted are the Orang Asli’s Sewang dance and dances of the multiracial people of Malaysia.

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