Thursday, November 28, 2002

Cloak-and-dagger (27/11/2002 - The Malay Mail)

Publication : MM
Date : 27/11/2002
Headline : Cloak-and-dagger

IT is baffling that the Olympic Council of Malaysia (OCM) are not
revealing the names of the contenders for the various posts at their
elections on Dec 14.
OCM secretary Datuk Sieh Kok Chi said he has his reasons for not
revealing the nominations as there is bound to be changes. As such, OCM
need to ask those who have been nominated whether they are really
interested in the post or have been nominated without their consent.
He also said the full list of names can only be released on Nov 30 after
the final day for acceptance of nominations by the candidates.
"The candidates still have two weeks to campaign if they want," he said.
But that is not the point.
The public should be informed of those nominated because being nominated
itself is an honour for the candidates and it reflects confidence in his
It does not matter whether the candidate chooses to stand for election
or not.
There are some who argue that if the name of the nominee was released
and the person decides to withdraw, it will be embarrassing.
What matters here is the fact that the public and the sports fraternity
especially, need to know who has been nominated.
When nominations closed on Nov 14, OCM president Tunku Imran Tuanku
Ja'afar, Sieh and Datuk Kee Yong Wee were the incumbents returned
However, there were three nominations for the deputy-president's post,
currently held by Tan Sri Khir Johari. Khir has indicated that he will not
seek re-election.
There were 13 nominations, including three women, for the five vice
president posts. There is a provision to reserve one vice president post
for a woman but since there are three nominations, one will fill the
automatic seat with two challenging for the remaining four posts.
The five incumbent vice-presidents are Datuk Khalid Yunus, Datuk M.
Jegathesan, W.Y. Chin, Datuk Syed Mohamed Aidid and Norminshah Sabirin.
All five have been nominated and they will defend their seats.
Incumbent assistant secretaries Mohamed Fadzil Othman and Latifah Ya'cob
will be challenged by two men and one woman.
For the assistant treasurer's post, currently held by S. Jahendran,
there were three nominations.
The talk in the corridors of OCM is that one of the reasons for the
secrecy on nomination is because of attempts by some parties to ask the
nominees not to stand for certain posts.
It is learnt that Fadzil is not seeking re-election as assistant
Former NSC director of international preparations and BAM general
manager Phua Tai Neng, and National Association of Archery Malaysia's Mej
(R) Baharuddin Jamil have been nominated for the post.
OCM have already sent out letters to all the nominees asking them for
acceptance and one nominee confirmed that he received his letter
yesterday. Another said there was an added note in the letter asking him
to see an OCM official.
Certainly, there can be more transparency in OCM. All these speculations
will only undermine their credibility.

Thursday, November 14, 2002

Review of national incentive scheme in order (13/11/2002 - The Malay Mail)

Publication : MM
Date : 13/11/2002
Headline : Review of national incentive scheme in order

THE sooner the national incentive scheme is revised, the better it will be
for sports in the country.
Once too often we have heard of athletes wanting to quit the moment they
get the windfall from the incentive scheme given out by the National
Sports Council.
Weightlifter Amirul Hamizan Ibrahim had planned on quitting but later
said he wanted to take a year's break to study. Karate exponents S.
Premila and M. Srirajarajeswari intend to quit after the world
championships next year.
Amriul was a triple gold medal winner at the Commonwealth Games, with
Premila winning gold in Busan while Srirajarajeswari taking a bronze.
Gold medals at the Commonwealth Games and Asian Games were worth
RM80,000, while silver was RM40,000 and bronze RM20,000.
NSC not only pay out these bonuses for victory, but also finance
athletes and associations in their development and training, which
includes overseas exposure and monthly allowances for the athletes.
And when NSC spend so much money to see the athletes reach the highest
level possible, it is surely not for one-off achievements. They would reap
long-term benefits.
Of course, when the athlete can no longer perform because of the higher
level of competition, age or serious injury, they can gracefully bow out.
But more often than not, athletes bow out much earlier, especially when
they receive lucrative payouts.
It is for this reason that the incentive scheme formula has to be
reviewed. They should only be given a portion immediately with the rest
being invested into a saving and pension scheme.
The Korean system encourages athletes to remain in the sport longer as
the pension scheme and dividends they receive correspond with achievement.
There is a need to look again at proposals made in 1997. They allowed
NSC to enter into an agreement with the sport association and athletes
that they served the nation for a certain number of years.
However, for some reason, the NSC board rejected the proposals.
For the record, RM12,328,238 had been paid out since 1986 (when the
scheme was launched) until last year.
For the Commonwealth Games in Manchester this year, RM1,564,000 was paid
out to the 33 medal-winners (seven gold, nine silver and 18 bronze
medals), coaches and associations.
For 2001 alone, RM1,204,061.50 was paid, out of which RM775,500 was for
achievements at the SEA Games.
In 2000, the total was RM450,200, whereas in 1999, it was RM968,900.
These figures do not include the money spent preparing for the various
Games. For instance, RM40 million was spent on preparations for last
year's SEA Games.