Malaysia Rejects Hosting 2026 Commonwealth Games Due to Cost Concerns

Malaysia has decided against hosting the 2026 Commonwealth Games due to concerns over the event’s cost, the government announced on Friday. The decision was made during a cabinet meeting chaired by Prime Minister Anwar Ibrahim, following the withdrawal of the Australian state of Victoria from hosting duties last year.

Minister Hannah Yeoh, from the Ministry of Youth and Sports, stated that the government declined an offer from the Commonwealth Games Federation (CGF) to host the event. The CGF had extended the offer to Malaysia and other potential hosts, providing £100 million ($125 million) in funding. However, the Malaysian government deemed this amount insufficient to cover the expenses associated with organizing such a large-scale sports event.

Yeoh emphasized that the government’s priority lies in the development of sports and the welfare of its citizens. The decision reflects concerns about the financial burden of hosting the Games, especially with just over two years until the event’s scheduled date.

Victoria’s withdrawal last year due to escalating costs prompted the CGF to seek alternative hosts urgently. While Malaysia has a “fantastic track record” of hosting the Games, according to the CGF, the government’s decision indicates that other countries are also being considered.

The prospect of Malaysia hosting the Games had sparked debate within the country. While some viewed it as a significant opportunity to boost Malaysia’s sporting profile, others, including former youth and sports minister Khairy Jamaluddin, expressed reservations. Jamaluddin criticized the idea as “reckless,” citing the tight timeline for planning and the comparatively low profile of the Commonwealth Games compared to other multi-sport events like the Olympics or Asian Games.

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