State Associations the key players
State associations play a key role in charting the progress of Malaysian sports.
They not only hold the key to implementing the programmes launched by the national associations and carrying out their daily work at the grassroot level effectively, but they play a key role in electing the right people to lead them from the national level.
State associations are considered the king makers, for it is their votes and candidates who make the national association presidents.
But often, instead of using the power they have in their hands wisely, they are blinded by internal bickering, politicking in their associations and making themselves powerful in the process, when electing their presidents.
Recently, the Malaysian Amateur Athletic Union (MAAU) in their Annual General Meeting in Kuala Lumpur, elected a new president in Perlis Menteri Besar, Datuk Seri Shahidan Kassim.
Certainly, Shahidan is a good man for the post, but the question is whether he will have the time to be hands on the administration and progress of the association.
Afterall, Shahidan, already heads the Amateur Swimming Association of Malaysia (ASUM), the Perlis Football Association and Malaysian Kabbadi Association.
There was a move sometime ago to limit the number of top posts an individual can hold in sports association to ensure that the same official does not spread himself thin in serving the various associations one heads.
But nothing concrete came off it.
It is great that Shahidan is a popular choice and it must be because he delivers, especially in terms of finding funds for the association.
But will there not be a conflict of interest in his daily chores, will he not be going to the same source to assist the associations he heads and have his plate full to handle to the various woes of the association.
Or is it that the affiliates in MAAU have put him as the president, so that others can run the association, as he might not have the time to be hands on most of the time.
Interestingly, a man who is dedicated to working hard at his job, Admiral (Rtd) Datuk Danyal Balagopal, who has a record of being a driving force trying to put MAAU on the right footing, had stood against Shahidan and lost.
In the process, Danyal, who was the deputy president, had to relinquish the post as he went for brokes.
The chances that Danyal being persuaded to return to his deputy president post looks remote as the “king makers” within would not want that.
Shahidan will definitely find the money for MAAU’s activities, but whether he is going to see it put to good use will be the million ringgit question.
Rumours have already started among the sports circle that Shahidan might even run for a post in the FA of Malaysia and even the Olympic Council of Malaysia.
As for a post in OCM, he probably has already paved his way with the support of the two associations he heads – MAAU and ASUM.
As for FA of Malaysia, it is left to be seen.
It is good that top leaders come forward to assist State and National Sports Associations, but they must be careful not to spread themselves thin and at the same time subject themselves to talk from the public that they are “power crazy”.
They also must be careful not too be accused of not doing enough for sports in their own State, but take on to become national presidents.
It certainly does not do justice to these leaders on being just “puppet presidents”.
Maybe, Shahidan, is a different and he can handle a few associations in his stable and bring forth the desired results in each. He will then become a rare breed of sports leaders.
But in the best interest of sports in the country, it is best that sports leaders do not take on more than they can chew.