Friday, May 6, 2005

An exercise in futility? (06/05/2005 - The Malay Mail)

Publication : MM
Date : 06/05/2005
Headline : An exercise in futility?

THE FA of Malaysia (FAM) have hogged the limelight more often for the
wrong than right reasons.
Time and again, they have been criticised for the national team's
performance or the way the league is run where changes have been
introduced on a regular basis.
Nevertheless, FAM had received good reviews as far as their
administration is concerned with the Sultan of Pahang at the helm since
But all that came to nought with the fiasco over the appointment of the
new secretary-general at their 42nd Congress last Sunday.
The post was vacant following the resignation of Datuk Dell Akbar Khan.
Much hue and cry was made by the State FAs over Dell's handling of the
administration so much so they hired PriceWaterhouseCoopers (PWC) to
study the FAM administration structure and recommend a fool-proof system,
in addition to interviewing candidates for the vacant post.
In the end, Datuk Seri Ibrahim Saad, chairman of the interview panel
who is also a FAM vice-president - the most sought-after official in the
sports fraternity - was named by the Sultan as the new general secretary.
This resulted in a public outcry, with Mailsport inundated by calls
from the public, eager to know what was happening in the national body
and demanding for answers.
One caller, Perumal, a veteran volunteer at an FAM-organised
tournament, suggested a public poll and was confident the majority of the
respondents would raise their objections against FAM's latest "antics".
But a poll is not going to change anything in FAM because it is the
State FAs who call the shots and going by the majority decision, they are
happy with the way things have turned out - with a member of their circle
named to the post.
No disrespect to Ibrahim or even questioning his capabilities of doing
the job, but the run-up to his appointment has been described as a
wayang kulit.
The Sultan, in naming Ibrahim, had said before the announcement: "I
have thought about the appointment for quite some time now, considering
it is an important post to be filled.
"The right candidate must be someone who not only understands football
but is also a good administrator who has good relations with everyone in
the fraternity.
"I have studied the applicants' resumes and even though they come with
good credentials, they lack the exposure which I feel is a vital
ingredient. As such, I believe that appointing Ibrahim is the best move
for FAM."
However, there needs to be more transparency from FAM.
To start with, how much were PWC paid for their services?
Moreover, with Rosli Hussein and Noor Kefli Sulong, of whom one was
tipped for the position, being named as assistant general secretaries,
more salaries will be paid.
And how much will Ibrahim and his two assistants be paid?
One hazards a guess whether the decision was made to pacify the State
FAs who might object to an "outsider" being the general secretary.
Without doubt, the Sultan, as FAM president, has the prerogative of
naming the general secretary as he needs someone whom he can trust and
work with.
And with this in mind, the Sultan should have just gone ahead by naming
the person, without going through the process of calling for applicants,
interviews, and shortlisting candidates.
It would have certainly saved FAM a lot of time, money and the bad

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