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.
THE GODFATHER OF MALAYSIAN SPORT
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.