The Sukma Games is a sporting event in Malaysia, held once every two years. Sukma is an acronym for Sukan Malaysia; literally Malaysian Games, in other words this event is often viewed as a high-end national level competition and is usually referred to as the "Malaysian Olympics". The first Games was held in 1986 in Kuala Lumpur. The games have been held biannually from 1986 to 2010, annually from 2010 to 2014 and again biannually from 2014 onwards. Participants of the event are picked from a competitive pool of possible strong elite athletes for each respective state and are usually extremely proficient and skilled in their own respective disciplines.
The Sukma Games is the largest and prestige national-level tournament in Malaysia. The tournament is held at every alternate year with Southeast Asian Games to explore new talents of the athletes highly potential to represent the nation at international sporting events.
The games rose from the proposal of the then Minister of Culture, Youth and Sports, Anwar Ibrahim in 1983. At first, the proposal consisted of sports such as tennis, table tennis, cycling, athletics and volleyball, but due to popularity and fame, the sports and number of events increased.
The Sukma Games concept is initiated to shape a united multi-racial society across the nation. The games fulfilled the Malaysia corporation concept where the government, sporting bodies, National Sports Council and non-governmental organizations are involved in managing its sponsorship.
The participating teams are mainly states and federal territories within Malaysia. Some invitational teams had been invited to a few Sukma Games. Eventually, as time passes all invitational teams except Brunei had ceased to participate in any Sukma Games followed by individual federal territories of Malaysia in which the latter had been merged into a single team starts 2006. Participating contingent with their respective Sukma Games Code are as below.
From 1998 to 2006, Sukma Games adopted the Fourth Place-Points System to calculate the points collected by athletes for the contingent. It was also a measurement to a contingent's strength and as bonus awards to a contingent. The Sukma Games organiser, however, has a somewhat misleading practice of ranking contingent based on most points or most medals collected in the medal table and not the convention of medal table used in most multi-sports event, that is to sort by the number of gold medals the athletes from a team have earned. In the event of a tie in the number of gold medals, the number of silver medals is taken into consideration, and then the number of bronze medals. If two teams have an equal number of gold, silver, and bronze medals, they are ordered in the table alphabetically by their team name or code. On top of that, the organisers even included the fourth place and total points collected in the medal table. The system was abolished after the 2006 Sukma Games. Note that the system applied only for local contingents and not invitational contingents such as Brunei and Northern Territory.
Points are calculated based on the Number of Athletes in an event as follows.
On 27 May 2010, the Cabinet Committee for Sports Development (Malay: Jawatankuasa Kabinet Pembangunan Sukan (JKPS)) has decided that it should allow the states to rotate hosting the Sukma Games every even years and the National Sports Council itself every odd year to give chance for every sports competed and help the develop the sports in all directions and 'democratise' all the sports events, hence started the "annual games" system. This, however has caused some states like Sarawak to lament on its so-called bad performance when the optional sports only Sukma Games held in the odd years was competed, while in fact they excel in the core sports only Sukma Games held by the states in the even years when it was competed. For example, they fell to the bottom three with only 2 Gold in the 2011 games which involved only optional sports. But in the 2012 Games in Pahang which involved only core sports, they won fourth place among the states competed. By combining the results of the 2011 and 2012 games, Sarawak is in fifth place overall among the participating states. This shows that some states might be weak in certain sports, but they are strong in the others. Besides, the implementation of the system saw the states sports agenda fully packed, and the state athletes and coaches lacked time to rest after a competition. Notably, Brunei did not participate in the optional sports games held in Kuala Lumpur, rather it participated only in the state held Sukma Games held in the even years as usual. The system was adopted from 2010 to 2014, and was abolished via a meeting in 2015.