Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Think before you leap


Contest in any elections is welcome as it is democratic.
It is indeed interesting for the first time in the history that all posts are contested for Olympic Council of Malaysia (OCM) Annual General Assembly (AGA) next Saturday.
But sadly, instead of individuals nominated by respective National Sports Associations (NSAs) based on track record and caliber, many candidates have been campaigning with NSAs to nominate them.
There were certainly some loopholes in the nomination process which ended on Tuesday.
The first was that some NSAs were not concerned or protective of their sport and their rights. They just gave away their nomination rights. Some just signed a blank nomination form and gave it to their friends who then filled in someone who the NSA may not even support.
The second was that several candidates who fell out favour in their own NSAs went from NSAs to  NSAs asking to be nominated.
These officials hardly did much for sports but once nominations started, they were desperate to be nominated.
This brings to the question what is the agenda of these officials?
Are they seeking positions in OCM because Malaysia is hosting the 2017 Sea Games, are eyeing a trip to the Brazil Olympics next year in Rio de Janerio or the big bank account OCM has.
OCM has RM18.5 million in their OCM trust fund.
Above all, it is sad that the battle of sports has come down to camp A and camp B.
This clearly indicates it is battle of supremacy rather than coming forward to serve the sports.
The appointment of delegates deadline is on Monday and here again it will be interesting who are nominated by the NSAs.
Each of the 35 eligible NSAs can name three delegates to vote for a total of 105 votes for each position.
Returning officers lead by Ramesh Candar-Nair, Ng Ping Loong and Teng Mui Hgee will vet through the nominations to ensure that it is in order, especially that it has the authenticated signatories.
There is already some trying to control the appointment of delegates by the NSAs.
The normal process of appointing the delegates rests with the president or secretaries of the respective NSAs where the NSAs have control and the president’s choice prevails.
As to who are the delegates, it is a grey area. While it is the norm to appoint office bearers of the respective NSAs, some NSAs may even appoint outsiders who have nothing to do with the sport and the NSAs.
The objective of course is to control the voting.  This trend is becoming more rampant.
Thus it is important that president or secretary general controls the nomination process to ensure that it is done in the best interest of the respective NSAs.
Now coming to the candidates standing for election, there are those who are still greenhorns in their respective associations, have been ousted from their associations, being nominated by associations whom they have no affiliation to and others who have done little for their own association or support grassroots development programmes like SportsExcel but now seeking posts in OCM.
Then we have to ask if some officials are intending to come onboard OCM with personal agendas like for the business they are involved in?
We also have an official who embarrassed OCM as host of the recent IOC Session when his name was removed from the appreciation list by IOC themselves for depredatory comment on a group chat which was visible to IOC members.
Can we afford to have officials onboard who cannot conduct themselves respectably in the eyes of international sports bodies.
In all fairness, there are officials who have been nominated who are capable and experienced sports administrators who will do well for OCM.
The NSAs will have to be wise on their choice on whom they want to see helm OCM and not blinded by promises made.
It is fine for OCM to assist NSAs, but to give cash grants is certainly not wise.
Already NSAs have been spoilt with cash handouts for programmes by the National Sports Council (NSC), that many associations do not stand on their own feet and just depend on NSC as their sports standards decline.
Is this the kind of sports culture we want to promote and will it help NSAs or make them become more dependent on handouts.
It is better to teach one to fish than to give him a fish.
Above all, officials voted in must have a track record and experience especially with Malaysia hosting the 2017 Sea Games.
The last thing Malaysia need is face embarrassment with rookies at the helm.
Lastly, this is a sports election and we need people who have sports at heart to be elected and have the time to dedicate their services.
This election is certainly not political election based on party allegiance.
OCM is the body for all NSAs and unless it is transparent, helmed by caliber leaders with no agendas and work for the sports, Malaysian sports could well slump further than it already is.
Let us hope the NSAs vote wisely to put the right people to lead and manage OCM. It will be futile to cry over spilt milk.
But in the end, it will be the choice of NSAs and it has be respected and hopefully whoever gets elected, work for sports and not themselves.
All the very best to all the candidates.

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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