Oct 5, 2015


In conjunction with the highly anticipated National Sports Day, the Ministry of Youth and Sports has called on Members of Parliament (MPs) to accept the challenge of taking the first step in turning Malaysia into a sporting nation via the Garmin MP Steps Challenge.

At its official launch in Parliament on Thursday, the Garmin MP Steps Challenge will have participating MPs competing against each other not in politics, but in a "survival of the fittest" test to see who will emerge the strongest, healthiest and most active MP.

From Friday, Sept 11 - Oct 2, participating MPs will be provided their very own Garmin VivoFit 2 activity device courtesy of Garmin Malaysia, which will be used to keep track of their daily steps, calories burned and distance walked.

The data will be recorded on a dedicated website, for the public to monitor their progress on a daily basis.

"Malaysia is currently anything but a sporting nation, but we hope the National Sports Day (to be held on October 10) can help change that. We want sports to become a way of life for Malaysians," said Khairy Jamaluddin, Minister of Youth and Sports at the official launch ceremony, on Thursday.

"Who better to lead the charge but the elected representatives, the MPs themselves? National Sports Day will not be complete without the participation from the elected representatives of the people, and I believe we (MPs) have to use every avenue to lead a healthy lifestyle and encourage our respective constituencies to do the same.

"A lot of people still look up to us MPs for guidance ... I think we owe it to them to start leading even if it is in the matters of health, fitness and being active," added Khairy.

Ivan Ong, Senior Manager of AECO Technologies (M) Sdn Bhd, sole distributor of Garmin in Malaysia, was honoured to be partnering the Ministry of Youth and Sports for the Garmin MP Steps Challenge.

"Garmin is happy to be part of an opportunity to spearhead an initiative to promote fitness in Malaysia. Through this challenge, we believe the MPs will help drive the message across by taking the lead role as the leaders of their own respective constituencies," said Ong.

The Garmin MP Steps Challenge is open to any MP interested to participate. It is divided into two categories: "Team Universe" (for MPs aged 45 years and above) and "Team Olympic" (aged below 45 years old).

So far, 42 MPs have signed up for the challenge.

"The MP with the highest average steps per day at the end of the challenge in each category will win RM10,000 which they can use to promote a sporting culture in their constituency on National Sports Day.

"In addition, the second and third place MPs in their respective categories will take home RM7,500 and RM5,000 respectively," Khairy explained.

The National Sports Day, an initiative from the Ministry of Youth and Sports to turn Malaysia into a sporting nation, will be held every year on the second Saturday in October. In its debut this year, National Sports Day will boast more than 4,400 sporting and fitness programmes nationwide, including the 2015 Spartan Race, Port Dickson International Triathlon, Score Fitmob and National Bike Race.

"With government and private agencies doing their part in organising numerous events at state and district levels, we ask the rakyat to come and join us in embracing the sporting lifestyle now," Khairy said, adding that National Sports Day targets at least three million Malaysians to participate.

And Ong has no doubt that Khairy's target can be met.

"This year's National Sports Day will be a lot of trial and error, but we are very confident the three-million target can be achieved," he said.

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