Sunday, March 8, 2015

Politicking derailing Malaysian sports


 Level Field  

It is amazing how much of politicking goes on in Malaysian sports, and no wonder the latter is suffering.
Politicking and personal agendas peak at sports associations each time an election is around the corner.
And at other times, it is the efforts of officials to build an empire in the associations so they can hold on to their positions for as long as possible.
There is nothing wrong with officials wanting to stay on but when they are the cause of declining standards in the relevant sport and when they do nothing to elevate the status of the association, then they must go.
These unscrupulous officials are the cancer in Malaysian sports.
They go to any extent to remain in power, including using their cronies to smear the name of genuine sports officials.
I was privy to some messages which were floating around and I was shocked that some sports officials would stoop so low just to promote the ‘crooks’ in the associations.
And that some presidents turn a blind eye to such things is incomprehensible. In the end, the same self-serving officials continue to cling to their posts.
The politics played in sports association is worse than what happens on the real political scene, where few resort to character assassination just to get mileage.
Campaigning before elections is fine, that is if the right officials with the interest of sports at heart are promoted. But when officials who have been the very cause of the poor showing of their associations are time and again voted in, the sincerity of the officials and affiliates in the respective associations becomes suspect.
It is indeed sad to see officials who have done so much for their sport being ridiculed, their sincerity questioned and all sorts of baseless allegations thrown at them.
And to make matters worse, those who are responsible for all the politicking are officials who do not lift a finger to assist their sport.
They work overtime to promote their ‘friends’ who will take care of them, like taking them on trips or naming them for the main committees.
Sadly, the losers in this situation are the respective sports and the athletes.
From what I see, politicking has been really bad in hockey, football, athletics and sepak takraw. But this undesirable culture is creeping into other sports too.
It is tragic that it is happening even at the Olympic Council of Malaysia, and they are supposed to be the governors of sports in Malaysia.
From what I know, the Lawn Bowl Association of Malaysia, which was well managed and performance-oriented under the leadership of Tun Ahmad Sarji Abdul Hamid, has since his departure gone from a five-star association to a non-rated body.
It is a crying shame that self-centred officials are everywhere in sports in this country and have gained a foothold. For as long as they are around, Malaysian sports is certainly not going to progress at the rate it should.
Getting rid of these bad hats is not going to be easy because their roots are deep in the system. For professional and fair governance of sports in Malaysia, the real sports lovers should move in and eradicate these parasites once and for all.
Can it be done? It all depends on those officials who have Malaysian sports at heart and ex-national athletes who can assume leadership roles.
But then again, things are not right at the ex-international organisations.
So, is there hope for Malaysian sport? It is indeed a billion-ringgit question.

TONY MARIADASS is a sports
journalist with more than
three decades of experience
and is passionate about
local sports.
He can be reached at
Twitter: @tmariadass

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