Sunday, May 31, 2009

Stock taking time!

I suppose common sense prevailed in the end, when the incumbents were voted in at the biennial 28th Olympic Council of Malaysia general meeting at Wisma OCM this morning.

With Tunku Tan Sri Imran Tuanku Ja'afar retaining the president's post after former Perlis Menteri Besar Datuk Seri Shahidan Kassim decided to withdraw from the contest (for the second consecutive BGM) on Friday evening, all eyes were on the battle for the deputy
president's post where Datuk Seri Dr Ibrahim Saad challenged Datuk Dr M. Jegathesan.

As it turned out, it was a breeze for Jegathesan, as affiliates decided to stick with the incumbents for the day. (Refer to Bernama's coverage on the elections)

Congratulations to all the office bearers, but the endorsement by the affiliates does not necessarily mean that they happy with the ways things have been shaping up for the last two years.

OCM's 2009-2011 line-up: From left: Low Beng Choo, Moira Tan, Rosmanizam Abdullah,Roy Rajasingham, Dr M. Jegathesan, Tunku Imran Tuanku Ja'afar, Prof W.Y. Chin, Ramlay Ibrahim, Sieh Kok Chi, Kee Yong Wee (not in pix: Abdullah Sani Karim and Prof Zakaria Ahmad)

The fact that there was challenge for all major posts, only meant that there were affiliates who wanted changes. And the elected officials must take the trouble to find out, what were the grievances of the affiliates for wanting to see changes in the OCM line up and work at it to win back their confidence.

OCM have often been criticised that they are only active when there are multi-sports Games at various levels. They have to change that tag.

In all fairness to OCM, they have been working to get closer to the affiliates by engaging them in seminars and surely there is more they can do.

Tunku Imran, after the elections,said that the OCM line-up must work hard especially in developing domestic sports, implementing the rating system for the National Sports Associations and developing the Sports Channel (Sports TV) for its affiliates. He said that the main purpose of setting up the Sports Channel is to provide better and wider coverage for sports activities by the affiliates.

A suggestion would be to get all the affiliates to meet the current OCM line-up, get their feedback and work on it. That way, there will be check-list to see if the officials have delivered.

The last thing the OCM lineup should do is rest on their laurels, but take the challenges they faced at the election as a wake-up call to do better for the next two years.

For those who failed win in the elections, they should not be bitter and undermine the efforts of the current lineup, but come forward to join hands and work together in whatever way they can in the best interest of Malaysian sports. And OCM, on the other hand, should not shut out these officials just because they challenged the incumbents.

The sporting spirit should prevail in the end and sports and the athletes should be the winners!

Olympic Council of Malaysia (OCM) line-up for 2009-2011:

President: Tunku Tan Sri Imran Tuanku Ja'afar (unopposed after Datuk Seri Shaidan Kassim withdrew)

Deputy president: Datuk Dr M Jegathesan (beat Datuk Seri Dr Ibrahim Saad 65-33)

Vice-presidents (four men and one women): Datuk Abdullah Sani Karim (95), Prof Datuk W.Y. China (89), Prof Zakaria Ahmad (79), Datuk Roy Rajasingham (70).
(M.P. Haridas - lost - 59 votes)
Low Beng Choo (unopposed as women VP)

Honorary secretary: Datuk Sieh kok Chi (unopposed)

Honorary assistant secretary (man): Ramlay Ibrahim (51) (Hisham Mohd Noor (23), L. Ramesh (18), Lawrence Yeow (3) - lost)

Honorary assistant secretary (woman): Moira tan Siew See (52)
Latifah Tan Sri Ya'cob (46) - lost)

Treasurer: Datuk Seri Kee Yong Wee (unopposed)

Assistant treasurer: Rosmanizam Abdullah (unopposed)

Saturday, May 30, 2009


FA of Malaysia competition committee’s decision to endorse the recommendation by the disciplinary board (DB) to revoke the suspension is yet another sign of weakness. Refer to this.

I sympathise with Kelantan with their financial woes owing to the ban, but there cannot be any compromise when it comes to security at football matches when it involves the lives of the public.

There are rules to be followed in sports, and when compromise is made, we are courting trouble.

The disciplinary board made a decision after studying the case carefully in the first instance, and they should have stuck with their decision. Otherwise, they should have considered all the consequences, and probably given a lighter sentence.

Of course, it is a right for anyone to appeal, but sometimes, one has to look at the severity of the case before succumbing to sympathy and emotions in altering decisions.

Indications are that the national soccer body has once again bowed down to pressure.

I just hope that no untoward incidents occur at the Mohamad IV Stadium in the remaining matches that cause the FA of Malaysia to regret their decision.

FA of Malaysia will have Kelantan first fulfill certain obligations before their next home match against UPB FC-MyTeam on June 16. It will be interesting to see what these obligations and how different is going to be from all the other teams who are required to meet security requirements.

Is FA of Malaysia continuing to bend backwards on their decisions, every time the affiliates appeal or come up with threats that they will be withdrawing from the League.?

Already, Kelantan could be courting trouble by giving their fans a treat, as Kafa plans to mark the re-opening of the stadium with a friendly against Premier League side Proton on June 5 and another against FA Cup champions Selangor on June 9 with entry being free for both matches!

How is Kafa going to have crowd control and adhere to capacity of the Stadium without selling tickets? At worst, Kafa should charge RM1, for accountability.

Kelantan maybe happy with the decision, but it is hoped that FA of Malaysia is not further embarrassed by their change of decisions.

The one year ban on Kelantan from playing at home was imposed due to an outbreak of violence outside the stadium after the FA Cup semi-final first leg between Kelantan and Negri Sembilan on Apr 7.

The current change in decision is the second time FAM has reversed itself in a case involving Kelantan.

FAM last month also cancelled its decision to award three points to KL Plus for the washed out opening Super League fixture against Kelantan in Kota Baru after finding the Sultan Mohamed IV Stadium pitch unsuitable for play.

Kelantan went on to win the re-scheduled fixture 1-0 at the National Stadium, their first win at their temporary home venue, last Tuesday.

In sports one sometimes have to be cruel to be kind.

Friday, May 29, 2009

History Repeats Itself

As I archived my sports columns from 1991 to 2006 into the blog for reference, I could not believe the number of columns that were still relevant. In fact, many of these columns, if reprinted now, will still gel with current issues.

It only underlined the fact that I have not missed much on the sports scene in the last three years I have not been writing. I was still very much in contact with sports during this period, but could not express my views.

I missed expressing my views because I am passionate about Malaysian sports and want to whatever little I can to make changes to make it better. There is no doubt there is tremendous potential in Malaysian sports, especially in the present times, since there is great support from the Government and the private sector. We have ultra-modern sports facilities, have organised numerous international sporting events, our officials are in top positions in international sports organisations, have an abundance of experienced coaches and officials and talented athletes in various sports.

However, we have attained world-class standard in few sports and even then they are not consistent. Among the sports that can claim having attained world standard include badminton, squash and tenpin bowling, with others like cycling and archery coming close behind. Gone are the days when we used to rule in soccer and even our traditional sports sepak takraw!

A great deal of the rot in sports here has to do with a lack of professionalism administration in many associations, poor attitude and lack of discipline among athletes and officials, lack of emphasis on development programmes, politicking, abuse of financial aid and funds, and above all, using sports as a platform for individual agendas.

Let us look at the highest sports organisation in the country – the Olympic Council of Malaysia who will have their biennial elections tomorrow. When nominations came, it already invited controversy with the likes of former Perlis Menteri Besar Datuk Seri Shahidan Kassim nominated by the Amateur Swimming Union of Malaysia (ASUM) to challenge incumbent president Tunku Imran Tuanku Ja'afar.(Above)

Then, we had Datuk Seri Dr Ibrahim Saad nominated to stand against another incumbent, deputy president Datuk Dr M. Jegathesan.

It is a democratic process and anyone can be nominated. However, in the case of Shahidan, he is already the president of the Malaysian AAU (MAAU), Amateur Swimming Union of Malaysia (ASUM), Kabaddi Association of Malaysia, Petanque Federation of Malaysia (PFM) and the Perlis Football Association.

The right thing for Shahidan(right) to have done, if he was seriously interested in the OCM’s top post would have been to resign from all the associations he heads and go for broke at the OCM elections. That way, his sincerity in wanting to serve OCM would have been underlined. Right now, he wants to have the cake and eat it too. If he loses in the OCM elections, life goes on as usual as he will continue to helm the associations. But if he wins in the OCM, he will have to resign from the associations, as it will definitely be a conflict of interest. Shahidan’s desire to helm sports associations has been the debate in the past and is nothing new.

As for Ibrahim, he has the credentials and experience, but to go up against Jegathesan,(below) who is the only Olympian in the Council and who not only has the experience and international recognition, but has done a decent job, looks like there is a hidden agenda. Refer to SS Dhaliwal’s Malaysian Sports blog to read what Ibrahim and Jegathesan have to say about the election. Q&A

What has happened to sports to be led by sportsmen? (Refer to this)

Talking about controversies, when the deadline of nominations ended on May 20, the first salvo was fired when the list of nominations was not released by OCM. And this is nothing new either. Refer to this story.

Hope good sense prevails among the 34 national sports associations who will cast their vote to decide the line-up to lead the Olympic Council of Malaysia (OCM) for the next two years.

May the best and those with sports and the nation at heart rule!