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On Friday, Malaysia announced its decision to decline hosting the 2026 Commonwealth Games due to financial concerns, as revealed by the government.

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The decision was reached during a cabinet meeting chaired by Prime Minister Anwar Ibrahim, following the withdrawal of Victoria, Australia, last year.

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Hannah Yeoh, the Minister of Youth and Sports, stated, “The Ministry of Youth and Sports today announced the government’s decision not to accept an offer from the Commonwealth Games Federation (CGF) to host the 2026 Commonwealth Games.”

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With Victoria’s withdrawal due to escalating costs, the CGF extended an offer of 100 million pounds ($125 million) to Malaysia and other potential hosts, just over two years before the Games were scheduled to occur. However, the Malaysian government deemed this offer insufficient to cover the extensive expenses associated with organizing such a large-scale sports event.

Yeoh emphasized that the government’s priority is to focus on sports development and the welfare of its citizens rather than undertaking the financial burden of hosting the Commonwealth Games.

While Malaysia has a commendable track record of hosting the Games in 1998, the CGF had approached other countries as potential hosts, including Singapore, which is currently evaluating the feasibility of the proposal.

The prospect of Malaysia hosting the Games had sparked debate within the country, with some viewing it as a unique opportunity to enhance Malaysia’s sporting profile. However, doubts arose regarding the feasibility of organizing the event within the limited timeframe available.

Former youth and sports minister Khairy Jamaluddin criticized the idea, describing it as “reckless” due to the tight timeline for planning and preparation required for such an event. He also highlighted that the Commonwealth Games, while significant, do not command the same level of participation, exposure, and returns as events like the Olympics or Asian Games.

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