Friday, June 6, 2014

Serve sports, not rob it

Friday, June 06, 2014 - Malay Mail
Tengku Abdullah (centre) must be careful who hangs around him as many will try to take advantage now he heads two of the most popular sports association. — File picture

SPORTS leaders should get rid of hangers-on in the best interests of the sport and their reputations.
These parasites are a common sight in Malaysia.
They keep appearing in the print and electronic media together with the officials, nodding approvingly at the latters’ statements and smiling at the camera.
Surely these leaders are capable of giving interviews without these leeches sharing the limelight?
My main complaint is these hangers-on claim they are the ‘president’s men’ with easy access to the leaders and able to arrange appointments, pass on proposals and influence decision-making.
However, all their favours come at a price.
Sports leaders should know better that to allow such people to manipulate situations and, above all, tarnish their image.
Such culture is very detrimental to the progress of professional sports in this country.
The latest personality to be appointed to a national body is Tengku Abdullah Ahmad Shah. He has been elected as president of FA of Malaysia.
The Pahang prince who is already the president of the Malaysian Hockey Confederation (MHC), is now heading two very high-profile sport associations, so naturally, many will start claiming they are close to him. MHC officials may even try to extend their influence into football circles.
When will the hangers-on serve sports instead of serving themselves?
Let us keep Malaysian sports clean and free of manipulative officials, who care only about being popular locally and internationally.
Sports these days is a multibillion-ringgit industry and unless transparency prevails, corruption will thrive. Sports officials must serve with absolute integrity.
To recap, the Malaysian Paralympic Council (MPC) came under fire for allegedly investing RM4 million in an event management company and then writing off RM3.8 million as bad investment.
However, MPC president Datuk Zainal Abu Zarin, who founded the association 20 years ago, denied that the money was mismanaged.
This daily reported that MPC’s RM4 million investment in Paralimpik Ventures Sdn Bhd (PVSB) in 2008 was under scrutiny because it was helmed by Zainal and his two sons Idi Irwan and Ilia Ikhwan.
Zainal said such claims were baseless because the money was invested to increase MPC’s revenue since it had suffered financial difficulties in the 1990s.
Reports are said to have been made to the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission and police, but nothing has come of it. Meanwhile, MPC continues to operate and collect funds for new events under the same president.
Has the association got away scot-free?
MPC is a non-profit organisation responsible for promoting and enhancing sports for the disabled so they can maintain a healthy and active lifestyle. How does making investments fit into this?
Certainly, sports in Malaysia has run foul of the law in many areas. Can it ever move into the zone of par excellence? Let us get it right and save ourselves from further embarrassments in the name of sports.

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 handle: @tmariadass

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