Sunday, September 15, 2002

Elyas the man?

VETERAN sports leader, Tan Sri Elyas Omar, has emerged as the most likely
candidate to replace Sultan Azlan Shah as president of the Malaysian
Hockey Federation (MHF).
Elyas - the former Kuala Lumpur FA president and Badminton Association
of Malaysia (BAM) supremo - is currently not involved with any sport.
It was revealed by Mailsport yesterday that Sultan Alan will not seek
re-election when MHF hold their Biennial General Meeting (BGM) on Oct 26.
Several names came up as likely candidates. However, Sultan Azlan's son,
Raja Nazrin Shah, has made it quite clear that he does not intend to
succeed his father.
"He will decline all nominations," said a close aide of Raja Nazrin.
"Raja Nazrin has no interest in taking over the MHF leadership from his
father. In fact, he does not even want to discuss his father's decision to
Defence Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak yesterday declined as well.
"Frankly, I am immersed in my work and other matters, which is why I
have to respectfully decline," Najib said yesterday.
"Besides, I don't play need someone who is passionate about
the sport to lead the association."
Najib's late father, Tun Abdul Razak, was the president of the MHF
during his tenure as Prime Minister.
And that leaves Elyas as the popular candidate.
In fact, it was learnt there have been behind-the-scene manoeuvres to
entice Elyas. At least four States are expected to nominate him when
nominations for the BGM close on Sept 26.
Elyas, the former Mayor of Kuala Lumpur, held several positions in
various sports association. Under him, Malaysia won the badminton Thomas
Cup in 1992.
Kuala Lumpur were also a force in Malaysian soccer under him.
When contacted yesterday, Elyas laughed off the suggestion that he is
being sought to lead the MHF.
"This is news to me," said Elyas. "You mean people still remember me.
I'm sure there are more capable and younger leaders to head MHF."
When asked if he had been approached, Elyas replied: "Let's just say
everything is merely speculation at this moment. Please leave it at that.
"People may be testing the waters by dropping my name in."
Kuala Lumpur HA president, Tan Sri Noordin Hassan, is another man who is
being courted. Noordin was a MHF vice-president from 1984 to 1993.