Following the successful inclusion of esports into the 30th Southeast Asian Games, the region is making yet another stride in esports development. Malaysia’s Ministry of Youth and Sports has laid out a 5-year strategic plan for esports development domestically.
With the astronomical growth of esports, Malaysia is showing that they are not lagging behind in catching the trend. It is the second country in the region after the Philippines to have serious investments into esports.
A 144-page comprehensive strategy (available to download here) was released by the Ministry to legislate and create a healthy esports ecosystem. The plan guarantees an investment north of $4.8M USD in 2020, budgeted from Malaysia’s Ministry of Finance, with promises of development in term of athlete welfare, competitive integrity, a national esports venue, and a certification program.
There are five priorities outlined in the report, summarized below:
- Develop Athletes for esports exellence
- Towards responsible gaming and esports ethics
- Better access to esports infrastructure
- Build a sustainable esports ecosystem
- Institute good law & good governance
The report itself mentions South Korea’s Act of Promotion of Esports as a direct reference to Malaysia’s Ministry of Youth and Sports’ plan to grow esports. The goal is to provide it with sufficient government subsidies, university programs, and competition administration. As of today, there are no dedicated laws to govern esports in Malaysia, and competitive gaming is still under the government’s Sports Development Act of 1997 .
Syed Saddiq bin Syed Abdul Rahman, current Minister of Youth and Sports in Malaysia and the youngest minister in the history of the country, is an advocate for esports. He has often expressed his focus on esports, trying to shred the negative outlook of society on esports players. The 27-year-old minister’s favorite esports game is Dota 2, and his favorite heroes are Axe and Riki.