Friday, May 25, 2018



By Tony Mariadass

UNLIKE the general belief that the life of sports journalists is a bed of roses, it is in fact filled with thorns.
And having been a sports journalist from a rookie at the age of 19 and clocked in 40 years of sports writing, I have had a fair share of unpleasant moments.
But I have no regrets of making sports journalism my profession and would not have traded it for any other.
Obstacles and a few unpleasant moments are part of the job and we have been warned by our superiors from day one.
My first shock was as early as a stringer for the Malay Mail in the late 70s when former and late veteran sports writer Francis Emmanuel, had asked me to follow up on a story he was doing.
I was asked to go to the PJ Club and get information about the suspension of a senior committee member of the club and also to get a photograph of the suspension notice pinned on the club’s notice board.
Being a rookie I was naturally excited with the assignment and armed with a camera, I went to the club and walked in to look for the notice board and duly found the suspension notice.
Immediately I took out my small camera and started to take pictures of the notice. Before I knew, a gentleman tapped on my shoulders and asked me what I was doing.
When I told him that I was a sports journalist and was asked to get details of the suspension of the committee member, this gentlemen went berserk.
“Who do you think you are? Walking into a private club and taking pictures without acquiring any permission? This is a private matter and you have no business here,” blasted the gentleman.
And he demanded I handed my camera to him and by which time I was shivering and wondering what Francis had got me into.
The gentle took the camera, pulled out the film and told me to get out of the club before he calls the police.
I left immediately and rode my ‘kapchai’ back to the office to be greeted by Francis who demanded if I had the pictures and information from my assessment.
When I related what had happened, he burst out laughing.
“You thought you can walk into the club and just walk out with the pictures. This is show you there many obstacles in our job and you have to work around it,” he said.
Next day, Francis still had the story see print. Then on, I was very careful when getting stories and made sure I made sure I adhered to procedures and rules or get a story without getting ‘caught’.
Francis also had another peculiar way of bringing down rookie reporters to have their feet firm on the ground.
Francis would never give you the byeline you requested.
For my first story as a stringer – a story on former international footballer who plying his trade in Hong Kong, he gave me T. Mariadass.
Other byelines which followed included Anthony Mariadass, Tony Mariasoosai! Before he finally gave me my requested byline – Tony Mariadass.
Then we have to deal with officials and athletes who seek you for publicity but if you write any negative or expose any of their shortcomings, blunders or your views which did not go down well, they will blow their top, avoid you in future, bar you from covering their events, write letters to your editor accusing you of being biased or influenced by other officials or parties. You get screamed at, asked to get out of their offices, barred from training grounds and stadium, have people hackle you and in some instances even threaten you.
I have been asked to leave training ground at Penampang Stadium in Sabah and not allowed to enter the Likas Stadium with my Press accreditation and had to buy a ticket to gain entry. Then not allowed to use the Media Room facilities which included even standing outside the Media Room and told and lead by security officials to the seat which indicated in the ticket I had bought to gain entry to the stadium.
I had to go through all this because a top official of the Sabah FA was upset with an article I had written.
Of course over time all is forgotten and we friends again. Incidentally, the official is a Minister today.
Then we have officials who are supposed to be guardians of their sports but act otherwise.
A prominent official (now deceased) in the FA of Malaysia – not an elected office bearer but head of an important sub-committee – approached the Ulu Klan g Recreational Club (UKRC), asking them to surrender their field and clubhouse in return for a smaller pot of land which is Government property and already had a community building n it.
The official, who is a businessman and developer, had told UKRC president Andrew Gopal that the “UKRC ground” was suitable for a condominium project.
URKV had rejected the offer but the developer’s company working through the village’s (Hulu Kelang) security and development committee tried to acquire the land.
It was astonishing that while the number of playing fields in the Klang Valley are dwindling, that someone from FAM was ‘betraying’ the sport.
While this news was reported in the The Malay Mail On Nov 20th 2002, what was not reported was that Andrew was offered by the official at a meeting at the latter’s office, two condominiums, if had agreed to let go for his club grounds.
Andrew who is battling to regain the UKRC ground till today confirmed the offer.
“I flat refused the offer by the prominent official. I was applauded at the offer of the official and walked out of his room,” said Andrew when contacted recently.
“We are still homeless without a ground of our own and continue to host our annual veteran’s tournament at rented fields, but we have not given up on getting the field which rightly belong to us.
“The FAM official has passed away and his plans did not materialise, but others have similar plans and agendas and we have still not got back the field which was seized from us MPAJ.
“It has no different with Barisan Nasional or the Opposition who all promised us justice, but in the end have their own agendas and denied us the rightly ownership of the field.”
The battle continues.
While some officials have brought shame to sports, there are others who through their office made a difference to the sports they were involved in.
But sports being what it is, there is no room for good officials.
AS 1996 drew to an end, it was a year remembered in football where
three godfathers of the game had their curtains drawn on them in their
respective States.
Two have been unceremoniously booted out of their
associations while the other suffered the same fate soon after that.
The three were former Kuala Lumpur FA president Tan Sri Elyas Omar,
former Johor FA deputy president late Datuk Suleiman Mohamed Noor and Kedah FA deputy president late Datuk Ahmad Basri Mohamad Akil.
Without doubt, all three have done a great deal for their State FAs and
the rise of soccer in their respective States.
It is through their time, dedication, vision and love for the game that
their respective States have hogged the limelight in Malaysian soccer.
But sadly, all three were dumped after they lost their
influence as they no longer held Government posts.
What they had done over the years, was fast forgotten and they were made
scapegoats for the decline in recent years and the associations' poor
financial standings.

The three ‘Godfathers of football” became victims of the winds of change and politicking within the associations.
While sports officials were part and parcel of our sports writings, wives of officials too have played a key role in making a sports journalist’s life miserable in their line of duty.
Experiences of being told off or phones slammed by wives of officials when negatives articles are written on their husbands or even the associations they helm was normal.
But officials like Tan Sri Elyas, made us forget such matters when he would profusely apologises on behalf of his wife when I had unfortunate brushes with her. Elyas was magnanimous.
Then we had a wife of a FA President (Datuk Mohamad Aini Taib) who acted like the team manager of the state team.
It was a common sight to see her walking into the dressing room before, at halftime and end of game, to talk to players and give her two sen worth of advice and not to mention scolding the players too.
It has indeed been a journey for me, but despite the occasional bad experiences, the great memories have superseded the unpleasant encounters to make an unforgettable experience I will cherish forever.
But like we say in journalistic jargon, we are only as good as our last byeline!

Thursday, May 24, 2018


Do we need organised sports programmes to promote healthy lifestyle or sports for all?
In Malaysia many organised events have been held in the name of promoting sports and healthy lifestyle and thousands and even millions of ringgit spent.
Some of these events are just held over weekends or even over a day.
And how much it benefits the mass in the end is a million ringgit question.
I was recently in Phnom Penh and I was amazed at the enthusiasm shown by young and old when it came to exercising and staying healthy.
And it was not organised events they were involved in but just thousands of people either walking, running, cycling, on skateboards or exercising daily in the morning and evening.

 On weekends and public holidays it was bumper crowd and sometime no place to move freely.
And this is was happening on large and long boardwalks along the Tonle Sap River, Independence Monument and many walk paths and gardens around the many temples.

That the government had foresight to build so many boardwalks around the city at their iconic monuments and sightseeing areas is indeed visionary.
Another sight which caught my eye was that sepak tarkraw was a hit among Cambodians. All along the boardwalks the young boys and men playing the game.

It is no surprise that the Cambodians have already won a gold medal in Chinlone (part of the Sepak Takraw events) at the 2015 Sea Games in Singapore and probably it is a matter time before the Cambodians will be a threat to the Malaysians and Thais in the sepak takraw game proper.
Another game played along the boardwalks is the tradional game of 'chapteh' especially among the older men and women. And they are indeed very good at it where the game requires great dexterity and balanced in keeping the feathered shuttlecock in the air for the longest time. They have also modified the game to play like a sepak takraw game.

Indeed we don't need multi million ringgit sports stadium or facilities to promote sports and healthy living among the mass.

Even the state of art sports complexes we have are not readily available to the public or have to pay exorbitant charges to book them. 
Just have parks, open areas, tracks and pathways and boardwalks for children, youth, men and women, old folks and families to come to and they will come in doves.
In Malaysia too we have thousands who flock to the limited number of parks and open spaces in the country and sometimes these places are packed to the brim.
We certainly could do with more 'green areas'. parks boardwalks, garden for the citizens to come and spend some quality time with their families, friends or even individually to keep themselves healthy.
There will definitely be no shortage of people to utilise these facilities as we have a strong sporting population.
Just take a look at the many runs organised every weekend all over the country where participants pay entry fees to participate in thousands for every run.
Maybe we need to look at Cambodia and learn a few things from them.    

Tuesday, May 15, 2018


Wrote this article when Tan Sri Elyas Omae consented to be the Advisor to The Bowling Mag  which I was the publisher in 2011. The magazine has stop publishing three years ago.

It's briefly sums up his contribution to sports.


By TonyMariadass

If there a man for all seasons in sports, it has to be Tan Sri Elyas Omar.

Man with the Touch of Midas, the Godfather of Malaysian sports, Malaysian sports Savior, the Sports Icon of Malaysia, the Gift to Sports, Man wearing many Caps, Sports Sheriff, White Knight, are few names Elyas is known by.

While his name is synonymous with sports, he is equally, if not better known in the administrative field, where his visionary ideas have had groundbreaking impacts.

Elyas started his career in 1960 in Malayan Civil Service as the Assistant Secretary of the Public Service Commission. He held various official positions in the Government of Malaysia from 1960 to 1992. In his early years in the Civil services, in the 1960’s he played a key role in implementing the Malayanisation Policy of the Malayan Public Service (1960-1964) and later in initiating and implementing a number of management improvements and administrative reform  programmes in the Malaysian Government machinery under the direction of the then Deputy Prime Minister, Tun Abdul Razak. He was the Founder Director of National Institute of Public Administration (INTAN), Malaysia from 1973 to 1978. Thereafter, he was appointed as Deputy Director General of Public Service Department from 1978 to 1981. He also served as the Secretary General of the Ministry of Federal Territory Malaysia from 1981 to 1987.

Even then, Elyas was not known to many. It when he was the 3rd Lord Mayor of Kuala Lumpur from 1981 to 1992, that Elyas’ popularity grew immensely, especially among the city folks, who enjoyed a “new city” under him.

His contributions for a better Kuala Lumpur were not just confined to the city, but a national contribution.

As Mayor of Kuala Lumpur he introduced numerous changes to management, beautification and development of the city which included the concept of privatizing several projects and activities of the City Hall.

Among the projects undertaken under Elyas leadership include new townships through the redevelopment of squatter areas, transportation system (the light rapid transit rail and monorail), development of sports township (Bandar Tun Razak) where international standard soccer Stadium, cycling velodrome and a badminton hall were built and planned and developed a sports-cum-technology town which became the venue for the 1998 Commonwealth Games (Bukit Jailil).
Others include Urban Planning, Kuala Lumpur City Centre (KLCC) with the Petronas Twin Tower was conceptualised by Elyas, infrastructure facilities and the Merdeka Square including the tallest flag pole in the World to name a few

It was only a matter of time before when the sports fraternity sat up and noticed him.

But the sport of bowling was among the first to recognise the vision and ability of Elyas when the Malaysian Tenpin Bowling Congress appointed him as their patron way back in the early 80s.

The 74 year-old Elyas was a much sought after man in the sports fraternity soon he was involved in soccer, badminton and cycling.

Among his early notable achievements in sports include a professional soccer set-up with the Kuala Lumpur football team by engaging a professional world renowned coach in Dr Josef Venglos and professional players. Together with a firm development programme in place Kuala Lumpur went to become Malaysia Cup champions for three consecutive years from 1987 to 1989.

At the national level as President of Badminton Association of Malaysia from 1986 until 1994 he was largely instrumental in regaining the sports lost glory when Malaysia won the Thomas Cup in 1992.

Cycling too enjoyed a steady growth and success when Elyas was heading the national body from 1984-1988.

Elyas was also the Vice-President of the Football Association from 1984-1998 where he was also tasked to manage the National Youth Squad from 1994-1997 for the 1997 Youth World Cup in Malaysia.

Other sports positions he held include being member of the Management Board of the National Sports Council (1980-1993), Chairman of the Federal Territory Sports Council (1981-1983 & 1989-1992), Member of the National Stadium Board, member of Commonwealth Games Bid Committee (1990-1992), President of the Asian Badminton Confederation (1991-1993) and Vice-President of Selangor (2004).

More recently, Elyas vast experience in the various field even saw foreign nations seeking him and was the Advisor to the President and the Government of Republic of Senegal from 1 January 2004 until April 2005.

On 15 January 2005, Tan Sri Elyas was appointed as the Sports Commissioner of Malaysia until 15 April 2008.

He is currently Non-Executive Independent Director and Chairman of several companies.

Elyas has also been inducted into the Olympic Council of Malaysia’s Hall of Fame in 2007 for all his contributions to sports. Among other sporting awards accorded to him include the Man of the Year Award from New Straits Times/Sports Toto in 1988, National Sports Leadership Award in 1990 and the Man of the Year Award for Sports Leadership by Sports Writers Association of Malaysia in 1992.

Elyas is still a much sought our person for his advice and guidance.

Recently, Elyas consented to be the Advisor to The Bowling Mag and his guidance is indeed invaluable.

Asked about his vast contribution to sports he said: “I have one regret. I should have assisted to build a bowling centre. I have been closely associated with the sports and am the patron of MTBC, but having setup a national bowling centre, could have been a legacy I leave behind for the sports.”

Whatever said, there is no doubt that Elyas has contributed immensely to sports and will forever be remembered for his passion, commitment and love for sports.


Wednesday, February 21, 2018


Legendary goalkeeper Chow Chee Keong passed away this morning at about 7 am this morning.

He would have turned 69 on Nov 26.

May his soul rest in peace and the Lord grant him eternal rest.

As a tribute reproducing an interview I did with him four years ago which appeared in The Malay Mail.

The scribe with Chee Keong (first left) eight years ago at the UKRC function. Next to Chee Keong is another legend the late Wong Choon Wah, Datuk Santokh Singh and Yip Chee Keong.

The 'Steel Gate' keeper

Monday, July 14, 2014 - 12:49

CHOW CHEE KEONG (pic) is arguably the best goalkeeper Malaysia has ever produced, but today, instead of football, he is teaching golf in the Klang Valley.
A former student of St. John Institution, he had the rare distinction of playing for the national Under-20 youth team at the tender age of 13 and made his national debut as a 15-year-old! He played in five Merdeka tournaments (1965 to 1969) and was in the Malaysian team who won the title in 1968. He then turned professional in Hong Kong in 1970, where he played for a decade.
Early days
“I was very lucky to have played with some of the greats of Malaysian football like Abdul Ghani Minhat, Robert and Richard Choe, Dali Omar, Ibrahim Mydin, Abdullah Nordin, Syed Ahmad to name a few. Being only 15, I was treated like a son and they taught me many things which made me a better player,” said Chee Keong.
Chee Keong makes a save from the great Pele.
Stint in England
“I did my A Levels in King's College, England and went on to pursue a physical education course from 1966 to 1969. While I was there, I wanted to stay in touch with the game and Peter Velappan helped me get in touch with then West Ham manager Ron Greenwood to ask if I could train with their junior team," said Chee Keong, who will turn 65 on November 26. “I was given a chance to train with the juniors and whenever they needed a goalkeeper to play in the lower league games, they would call me. I would play at least one match a month. It was a great experience.”
Asked why he did not opt for a permanent stint in England, Chee Keong said it was difficult to break into the system in England and he was already fortunate to have had those temporary stints.

Turning pro in Hong Kong

“Many think I am the first Malaysian to turn professional. But I am not. The first was Perak’s Wong Kong Leong, who played in Australia for a short spell,” said Chee Keong.
“It was by chance that I turned pro. At the end of my three years in England, I decided to go for a holiday in Hong Kong with another college mate. I also wanted to meet my sifu, from whom I had learnt martial arts in Malaysia,” said Chee Keong, who is an exponent in karate, taekwondo and kung fu.
“While at my sifu’s home, I met the team doctor of Jardines FC, who asked if I could play for his club, who had to get three points from their remaining three matches to avoid relegation. I agreed and helped the team draw all three games and avoid relegation.
“That was when I was offered a contract for the new season. However, Jardine folded after a season and I moved on to South China AAA before ending my stint with Hong Kong Rangers FC.”


But despite an illustrious career which included being named Best Goalkeeper from 1966 to 1970 by the Asian Football Confederation, Chee Keong has regrets and it is because of that he is now involved in golf.
“I had a golden opportunity to play football in Brazil when I was in Hong Kong. Cruzerio FC came for a friendly match and they had Emerson Leao, one of the all-time best Brazilian goalkeepers. The local newspapers started to compare me with him, but in the end he did not play. It was after the game that I was approached to join the team,” said Chee Keong, who earned the nickname "Asian Stainless Steel Gate” and "Crazy Sword". “But I didn't take it seriously and that was the end of the story.
“The next year, when I was back in Malaysia, Cruzerio toured Malaysia and I was asked to play for the national team. And after the game, the offer to play in Brazil was made again. The condition was that I had to take up Brazilian citizenship.
“This time, I was serious about taking my career to the next level and decided to take up the offer. But I wanted to return to Malaysia after my stint in Brazil and had approached the late Tunku Abdul Rahman, then president of FA of Malaysia, and officials to assist me to get back my Malaysian citizenship . But I was turned down. With that went my hope of playing in Brazil.
“Till today, I regret I was denied an opportunity to taste professional football in the land of football.”
Chee Keong said his other regret was the way he was treated when he turned professional.
“Many called me a traitor to the nation, but nobody asked why I left to become a professional.
Firstly, for any footballer to improve, he has to play in a foreign league. Secondly, I did not come from a rich family. I needed money and it was a career. But I still returned to play for Malaysia when required in invitational tournaments.
“And when I returned from my pro stint, I remember writing a four-part series in a local newspaper, underlining the ills of Malaysian football, the way to go forward with a professional setup and management. My main contention was that for a professional league, it had to be run by professionals from a different entity and not FAM. It did not go down well with FAM and I was heavily criticised, such as what gave me the right to speak of professional football after playing in Hong Kong for a few years.
“That’s when I decided that I had enough with football. I turned to golf, not to just play but make it my career. I was a two-handicapper at one stage, but I was more interested in attending golf coaching and management courses and eventually started coaching in Hong Kong and China for 10 years be fore returning to coach here."
Married to Christina Kwok, the daughter of former FAM secretary, the late Datuk Kwok Kin Keng (1951-1980), Chee Keong has a 30-year-old son, who is a national ice-hockey goalkeeper and avid paint-ball player.

“Despite some disappointments in life, I am still a very happy and contented person doing what I love with a happy family.”

Chee Keong makes a save off an attempt by the great Pele.

Icons from the Past – CHOW CHEE KEONG (PART 2)

Telling as it is

Chow Chee Keong is a rare breed among Malaysian sportsmen, but there is not much records of his career. Last week, in an exclusive interview granted to MM Sport, he revealed many things not known about him and set many records straight.
The 64-year-old Chee Keong who rarely speaks to the media, opened up this time around and had so much to say that it was decided that a second-part the interview was fitting to make his story complete.
In this second-part Chee Keong, talks about local players, football administration and local fans.

IT was an era where goalkeepers were many and extremely talented, but Chow Chee Keong still emerged the top custodian.
There was Lim Fung Kee, Wong Kam Fook, the late R. Arumugam and Ong Yu Tiang and Rashid Hassan who came to the scene a little later, but Chee Keong remains the best goalkeeper ever to grace for Malaysia.
Not only was he voted Best Goalkeeper from 1966 to 1970 by the Asian Football Confederation, but he was sought by top Brazilian club Cruzerio FC. Pele whom Chee Keong played against on numerous occasions when he was plying his professional trade in Hong Kong, who became his good friend, had many kind words of his performances.

Other Malaysian follow suit

Chee Keong was instrumental in many other Malaysians who followed suit to play in Hong Kong which included Fung Kee, Kam Fook, the late Wong Choon Wah and Yip Chee Keong.
“These players approached me to help them find clubs in Hong Kong and I did. But sadly, many of them blamed me in bringing them to Hong Kong when they ran into difficulties coping with the local conditions,” revealed Chee Keong.
“Naturally the local players were not happy with us Malaysians playing in Hong Kong. They made it difficult for us, and became their target in matches. It was no different for me when I first went to Hong Kong, where I had to use my martial arts skills in goalkeeping to prevent myself frm getting injured.
“I also had to be mentally strong and determined to make a name for myself.”
Chee Keong said some of the Malaysian players who came to Hong Kong were not mentally strong and soon went into depressions and wanted out.
“Yip Chee Keong was an exception. He adapted himself well and was a hit with South China FC.”
Chee Keong said that Malaysian players should strive to play overseas because all over the world the better players play in leagues outside their home country.
“That is the only way to improve one’s game and all the challenges they are faced with, will only make them better players.

Malaysian players

“It is sad that I hear that many Malaysian players who have had the opportunity to go overseas have returned sighting weather conditions, food, language, missing home and not being able to stand the tough training or blending with the team.
“As long as this continues, Malaysian players are not going to improve and reach high standards just playing at home,” stressed Chee Keong.
He took a dig at present day athletes who take things for granted and are pampered lot and who do not know what sacrifice is all about.
“I cannot believe that present day sportsmen and woman and lack ambition to improve themselves and reach for the highest level of performance.
“They are so easily contended and get into the comfort zone. They do not push themselves and shun hardwork.”         

Malaysian football

Malaysian football, in fact he hopes all sports are administered by sportsmen and women rather than politicians and ones who do not have a clue of the sport.
“It is sad that many sports associations are run by people who do not have a clue of the sports or are not sportingly orientated,” said Chee Keong.
“Many helm the sports for their own personally gain or just to be popular and enjoy the benefits.
“We need officials who are passionate of the sports and want to take their sports to the highest level possible
He also took a dig at present day athletes who take things for granted and are pampered lot who do not know what sacrifice is and do not have ambitions to improve themselves.


“Malaysia is very lucky to have loyal fans who pack the stadium week in and week out despite the poor quality of football dished out,” said Chee Keong.
“It is about time that something is done for the fans so that they get their money’s worth.
“Right now they are being cheated as the football is of poor quality.
“The governing body, the coaches and players have an obligation to treat the fans to better quality games.
“These people have to remember that the day the fans despite to walkout on them, they will be playing to empty stadiums and the football will fall flat in country.
“I hope they do not take the fans for granted.”

Thursday, February 15, 2018


A legendary football official, R. Ramalingam (FA of Selangor & FA of Malaysia) passed away on Feb 6. 
Sadly his passing did not get the mention he rightly deserved.
Even the local media missed it and hardly a word was mentioned. Many current sports journalists did not know him, but it was sad that the football fraternity too failed to highlight his passing and remembering his contribution to football.
I have personally known him since i started writing in 1977 and have reported on him hundreds of times.
Sadly, I could not pay my last respects to him because I was unaware of his passing. His obituary advertisement appeared in The Star but sadly I did not purchase the newspaper that day.
Many in the football circle knew about his passing, but again sadly none informed me.
I only knew of his passing two days ago when his daughter Gayathiry, send me an email after she traced me through this blog and requested some details of her father.

This is what she wrote in the email:

Hi Tony,

My name is Gayathiry and my dad, Mr R Ramalingam was actively involved in Selangor and Malaysian soccer in the late 60’s (i think) and early 90’s. I found your contact when I googled his name.

He passed away last week (6 Feb) and I am trying to piece together his football ‘career’  for his remembrance book. Very much ashamed to admit that as much as I know he was passionate about football and doing the right thing for the game, I don’t know enough of his actual contribution to the game. As he had fallen sick by the time I became an adult, I was never able to have a proper conversation on this with him for me to fully appreciate his contribution to the game.
Based on your blog and illustrious career as a veteran sports journalist, would appreciate it very much if you would be able to give me some pointer on this.

I got in touch with Gayathiry and gave her whatever assisttace I could give here.

I last saw him a few years ago at another football legendary official, Dato' Paul Murugasu's funeral a few years ago. He was already wheel chair bound and managed to speak to him.
Sir Ramalingam you may have left us, but you will always be remembered.
Rest in peace Sir Ramalingam.  

Gayathiry as a remembrance of her beloved father, has complied a detail description of his work with Malaysian football. 

It is a fitting tribute and those who do not know him, it is a great insight to his contribution to Malaysia football.

This is Gayathiry's compliation:

Aum@Ramalingam s/o Retnasingam

Summary of Contribution

 Mr Aum @ Ramalingam has been an asset to Malaysian football since his involvement at school and district level in the late 50's. He graduated to state level seamlessly, and served Selangor with utmost passion and love for the game.
With his growing influence and success in the sport, his involvement continued to national level on various capacity. He was appointed national team Manager for prestigious tournaments such as Pesta Bola Merdeka and the Asian Cup.
On numerous occasions and in full view of the DYMM Yang Di-Pertuan Agong, he has led a team of talented Malaysian footballers to success on the legendary field of Merdeka Stadium.
Perhaps the greatest moment in Malaysian football, its zenith if you may, was achieved in 1980 when we qualified for the Moscow Olympics. Ramalingam was the Assistant Manager of that team, and together with the other officials and players, have earned themselves a place in the annals of Malaysian sports.
Theirs was an achievement spoken of till today, and has been a source of inspiration to our national footballers. The late Bakar Daud, who was the manager of that team, spoke highly of Ramalingam's role in the management of that team, and the pair linked up many times in the future.
Besides management of the team, Ramalingam was heavily involved in the promotion of football in Malaysia. Among others, he organised a world tour where Selangor state players played against great clubs in Europe and America. In 1982, he brought the greatest football player of all time, Diego Maradona to Malaysia. Pitting the great Maradona against our very own legend Mokhtar Dahari, it was a moment not many Malaysians will forget.
Over the years, he brought many other famous football clubs to Malaysia, and the players were not the only ones rejoicing, as fans witnessed top class matches live. He was a pioneer then, and his endeavours promoted football to greater heights. Like most leaders, Ramalingam never set out to achieve personal fame and fortune. He gave over 30 of his best years to developing what is now the most popular sport in Malaysia.
It is not a stretch to believe that his involvement in the beautiful game will continue to this day, had the effects of multiple strokes not taken a toll on his health.
Ramalingam is truly an unsung national hero, whose contributions, both tangible and intangible, are far-reaching. He had the pleasure of patriotically serving the country he loves, his Tanah Air, and for that he is blessed.
Selected Contribution School & District Level (From 1958 to 1965) • Chairman of Selangor School Sports Council (xxx)
• Refereed various football matches at school leagues, district level leagues and Football Association of Selangor (FAS) league, amongst others Khir Johari Cup Finals (between Royal Military College & Victoria Institution in 1963)
• Referees Board Secretary (1965) • Chairman of Football Sub-Committee for Selangor Schools Selangor State Level (1965-1992) • Football Association of Selangor (FAS) Class 2 Referee for Selangor League. As Class 2 Referee, refereed numerous matches in this league. • Secretary of FAS Referees Board
• Honorary Secretary of FAS (1967-1969) • Selangor Team Secretary for AFC Champion Cup Tournament whereby the Selangor team emerged as finalist • FAS Treasurer (1971-1978) • Manager of the Selangor Team for the first Piala Razak Tournament
• Organized world tour for the Selangor Team as reward for winning the Malaysia Cup in 1978. In order to raise the requisite fund for the world tour, organized various friendly matches.
• Manager of the Selangor Team that emerged as champions in the 1979 Malaysia Cup • Vice President of FAS (1984 – 1992)
• Chairman of the Mokhtar Dahari Fund Raising Committee • Sourced players for the Selangor team from various countries • Raising funds and sponsorships from various corporate bodies for FAS National Level (19XX to 1992)
• Malaysian Team Manager for Pesta Bola Merdeka 

Saturday, December 30, 2017


This article appeared in the Malay Mail last year:
Memories of Ampang Park by Tony Mariadass
“Ampang Park shopping complex, holds fond memories for me for as a schoolboy, it was my playground.
I had the pleasure of seeing the complex – the first shopping complex in Malaysia – being built and officially opening its doors in 1973.
I was in Form Three then and the very next year, I moved to about fifteen minutes’ walk from the complex, where my late father was the steward for a guest house in Jalan Freeman (now Jalan Ampang Hilir).
While there was a bus which went to Ampang Hilir once every hour, the last bus was at 7pm and if for any reason I missed that bus, I had to get down in front of Ampang Park and walk along Circular Road (later Jalan Pekeliling and now Tun Razak) to reach home.
And sometimes after school in St John Institution, my friend and football teammate Anuar Che Wan, who also stayed at Ampang Hilir, would rush after school at 1.20pm to catch the 1.30pm bus and many a time missed it.
So we took the bus to Ampang Park and walked home. It happened more often than not and we would end up at the Complex to get some cool air and do some window shopping besides looking at the ‘scenes’ or what we used to call ‘cuci mata’, before heading home.
We were students and did not have money to spend at the complex. Occasionally we would have saved money to get an ice-cream at the ice-cream parlour on the ground floor.
The Fitzpatrick’s supermarket on the ground floor was another favourite place of ours we would look at the grocery displayed and occasionally bought a bun or sweet before we headed home.
On weekends, Ampang Complex would be our playground in the mornings and evenings, we would be playing football in our neighbourhood.
During the weekends, we would cycle to the complex and would chain our bicycles at the back and many a time had problems with the security guards who refused to allow us to leave our bicycles at bays meant for motorcycles.
Once in a while we would watch a movie at the complex.
Traffic then was a breeze then and it was just two single roads in front of Ampang Park. Only on weekends, the traffic got heavier as almost the whole town converged to the complex which was a hit then.
I and my friend Anuar and with a few more friends from the neighbourhood had spent many hours combing the four-storey building.
Another favourite spot of ours was the playground on the rooftop where the dodgem bumper cars was our favourite. Again it was only in rare occasions we had enough money to ride on it. But we spent hours just watching the ‘rich kids’ having fun for hours.
Having been hooked to Ampang Park and wanting to come to the complex as a ‘real patron’ I decided to organise a farewell do for my classmates of 1975 after our final Malaysian Certificate of Education (MCE) paper in November.
We managed to get about ten of us interested and each had to fork out about RM20 (which was big money then) for a night out at the rooftop Beer Garden.
It was our first taste of beer for most of us and we arrived early to enjoy the ‘Happy Hour ‘prices.
It was a night to remember as we stayed late, listened to the resident band and stayed over at a friend’s father shop house along Jalan Silang.
Till today, we talk about it and will definitely be the main topic as about 20 classmates of mine meet next Friday for 40 year reunion with some of our teachers too.
After leaving school and doing my form six in St John’s, but through night classes under the Further Education Classes (FEC), I had to look for a job to pay for my school fees.
As it happened I found a job as a despatch clerk with the Austrian Trade Commission which was located on Persiaran Hampshire, which was five minutes away from Ampang Park.
I worked there for a year and spend more time in Ampang Park, this time with a salary, I could buy clothings, shop at the supermarket and visit the many outlets.
Come Christmas, I bought all my gifts from the complex.
Ampang Park had a wide range offers in Malay fashion, every day shopping needs like textiles, shoes and handbags, groceries, toiletries and household products, as well as banking, post office, travel, and currency exchange services. It had photographic stores with the latest cameras and accessories, beauty and hair salons offering a range of attractive styles and spa services to suit every budget.
It was also a food-haven with renowned food and beverage outlets, serving delicious local and international cuisine. It was a one-stop outlet.
How can I forget the MacDonalds where I spent many hours.
But sadly after moving out of the area, I had hardly revisited it, especially with so many complexes springing up.
But each time I pass Ampang Park, memories will come flooding back, especially how I grew up there as a schoolboy and teenager.
With news that the iconic Ampang Park mall will be demolished for the planned underground Mass Rapid Transit (MRT) station, is indeed sad.
Memories will be erased or will only be remembered as memories without the building standing there to remind the good times for those who grew up with it.
Can it be saved for nostalgic reasons? Unlikely as more often than not in the name of development many historical and iconic sites have had to make way.
Whatever happens, Ampang Park will be etched in my memory for as long as I live.”

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