Friday, August 22, 2014

FAM must help those who want to coach

FRIDAY, AUGUST 22, 2014 - The Malay mail
BUDDING football coaches are up in arms because they claim they are not being given a fair chance to make the grade and make a career out of coaching.

While the general perception is that not many quality coaches are coming through the ranks, the real story is that many have been sidelined because of an individual in the FA of Malaysia's coaching educators department, who has become very powerful. So powerful that this person decides who can pursue a career in coaching and who cannot.
For the record, I obtained my FA of Malaysia B coaching licence in 2001 Even then I noticed some irregularities. State and national players reported late for the course while one was injured throughout the two-week period and only attended classroom sessions. In fact, he did his theory on his test day.
Mind you, all of them got their licence. I have nothing against them — maybe as state and national players they had some advantages and made better coaches. But there was a distinct lack of fairness in the whole affair.
There was a candidate who was very interested in football and wanted to attend a course to learn something new, but was ridiculed for wasting his time and told he was capable of coaching only at club level.
So what if a B licensed coach taught at clubs? Maybe he would produce better players from the grassroots. Not surprisingly, this candidate did not get his B licence.
Recently, I approached the FA of Malaysia’s (FAM) coaching educators department to ask if it could admit a former Sikh M-League player from Kuala Lumpur — who is now coaching at club level — to attend a C licence course because his State FA could not list him for one.
But I was told it was not possible and he had to go through his State FA.
Yes, there are rules, but many complain there is favouritism at the State FAs and only the chosen ones get a break. Besides, the State FAs have a quota.
Here was a footballer who desperately wanted to coach and do it properly. Besides, how often do we get Sikhs wanting to be coaches?
I am not asking he be passed, but only be allowed to attend the course. If FAM finds he is not good enough, so be it.
I keep hearing all kinds of complaints about a certain individual in the coaching educators department and how he favours those close to him and finds reasons to reject candidates including them being too old or not having coached a team recently. FAM should investigate these allegations.
There are many who are willing to bring their grouses to FAM if they are allowed to.
It is not just about failing to get a particular licence but about not even getting a seat, ill treatment, abuse and, above all, not being given a fair chance.
Why aren’t we promoting coaches who are interested in football instead of handing licences to those who only display their certicates in cabinets?
If this continues, the coaching system is going to suffer as we will continue to lose interested and dedicated coaches.
TONY MARIADASS is a sports journalist with more than three decades of experience and is passionate about local sports. He can be reached at tmariadass@ Twitter handle: @ tmariadass

Monday, August 18, 2014

Kwai Lam still walking tall

Published on Saturday 16th August, 2014 (The Malay Mail)


A DARK episode at the tail end of Chow Kwai Lam’s illustrious career as a player and coach has not made him a lesser man than he richly deserves.
Kwai Lam, who turns 72 on Aug 26, has always been known as a par excellence midfielder and a firebrand coach, who attained many notable results.
In 2007, Kwai Lam was fined S$50,000 (RM114,000) by the District Court in Singapore in lieu of four months' jail for attempted bribery involving a Singapore League (S-League) match two years earlier.
Kwai Lam paid the fine.
He was charged with corruptly offering a sum of S$200 (RM455) to S$300 (RM684) and an unspecified amount of cash to Zulkifli Zainolabidin, who was the first choice goalkeeper of the Paya Lebar Punggol club, where he was coaching.
“It was an episode which came about through sheer negligence,” said Kwai Lam.
“It was a clear case of misunderstanding as I was testing the player, but my fault was that I had not reported it to anyone.
“I had just asked the player if he would ‘sell’ a game for S$200 as I was doing my own investigations. The player said no, and I left the matter at that.
“But after I left the club, there was an investigation. This player had made a report and I was hauled in.
“Yes, I was charged, but I stand innocent. My conscience is clear.
“I did not appeal (against the sentence) on the advice of my lawyer. Besides, I had already spent RM200,000 on legal fees.
“Singapore was bent on making an example of someone as they were doing everything possible to curb match-fixing. I became a victim.
“Although sad over the episode, I hold no grudges against anyone.
“All that mattered was that people who knew me knew that I was innocent. I had nothing to prove after all the years I had served football.”
Kwai Lam had a successful spell with KL, steering the city team to three Malaysia Cup triumphs in the 80's.
Kwai Lam said he has put the episode behind him.
“I still travel freely in and out of Singapore... nothing has changed," he said. “I have always strived for the best in what I do as a player and coach and have had many memorable moments.
“As a player, I used to score many goals and won many tournaments.
“As a coach, I have done equally well both as a local and national coach.”
Kwai Lam has the credit of having won the Malaysia Cup medal thrice with Selangor as a player and six times (thrice with Selangor and thrice with Kuala Lumpur) as a coach.
His most memorable being as coach of the KL team who went to win the Malaysia Cup three times-in-a-row from 1987 to 1989 besides winning the League Cup (1988), Charity Shield (1988 and 1989) “I think that record is going to be a difficult for any coach to beat,” said Kwai Lam proudly.
Early beginnings
Kwai Lam, who hails from Negri Sembilan, played for the state team from 1961 to 1965 and was a member of the national youth team which competed in the Asian youth championship in 1961 and 1962.
His coach then was none other than Datuk Peter Velappan, who had coached the Negri Sembilan combined schools team.
Kwai Lam made his debut with the national team in 1965 when he played against England’s Southampton FC and went on to don national colours till 1971.
One of his proudest moments as a player was when he was selected for the Asian All-Star team in 1968 to play against Arsenal.
Kwai Lam also has a proud runners-up medal from the inaugural Asian Champion Club championship in 1967, losing to Israel.
Kwai Lam owes his equally successful coaching career to the FA of Malaysia for selecting him, Abdul Rahman Ibrahim and Mohamad Bakar to attend a Diploma Grade A course at the German Football Association in Hennef in1978.
He had attained his advanced and A licence from FAM a year earlier.
“In the coaching course in Heneff, I was the top student and it was inspirational in shaping my coaching career.
I also have to thank former national coach Karl Weigang for his assistance,” said Kwai Lam, who was the German coach’s understudy from 1976 to 1977.
Kwai Lam also had the opportunity learn from the best when he was on attachment with German club Borussia Monchengladbach in 1978, then under Udo Lattek and Jupp Hencyekes, for a month.
Kwai Lam, as a coach, was known for his firebrand attitude.
“I was just a strict and disciplined coach. I brooked no nonsense and treated everyone equally. There were no favourites in my team. Even if he was the top player, he had to pay the price if he shirked his workrate," said Kwai Lam.
“Many saw me as a fierce coach, but I think that is because I am a no-nonsense person."
Kwai Lam paid tribute to former KLFA Tan Sri Elyas Omar, who transformed the KL team from minnows to champions over a short period in the 80s.
“He was a visionary man and I am happy to have worked under him and tasted the success which he mapped out,” said Kwai Lam.
“Another man who helped transform KL is former World Cup coach Dr Josef Venglos. I am indeed honoured to have worked under him and learnt a great deal.”
Kwai Lam said he is sad to see the state of KL football today and can only hope that it will regain past glory.
Down but not out.
Kwai Lam suffered a stroke two years ago, where his left side was affected. But being the go-getter that he is, he has made a remarkable recovery and keeps himself fit by going to the gym without fail six times a week at the Selangor Chinese Recreation Club (SCRC).
“I may not be actively involved in football these days, but it is close to my heart," said Kwai Lam.
“I have a daughter, who is a lawyer, and a son who is an accountant. I am happy being close to my family these days. I have had an active football life and have no regrets. Now, I just reminisce about the good times and the achievements attained.”

Friday, August 15, 2014

Fair play in sports starts at selection

FRIDAY, AUGUST 15, 2014 the Malay Mail

IT is about time we stopped kidding ourselves that everything is fine with our selection system.

Until we practise fairness and impartiality, Malaysian sports is never going to be represented by the best. 

Sports should be blind to race, creed and colour, and in a multiracial country like ours, it is even more important to adhere to this philosophy strictly.

All the 1Malaysia aspirations will come to naught if we do not practise what we preach. No matter how much we want to stay away from the subject or address the situation, it is happening all around us.

It is pointless to believe that everything is in order and sweep the issue under the carpet because it is going to haunt us and undermine our overall performance.

I would like to believe that everything is fine, but several issues that were brought to my attention have proved me wrong. It seems sports in this country is not fair after all.

It immediately brought back memories of the early 1980s when I was a rookie reporter and had written about middle-distance runner and Asean schools' gold medallist S. Ganesan. He was denied a place at the then Universiti Pertanian because the Victoria Institution lad had attained a Grade 2 in his Malaysian Certificate of Education examination. No exception was made in Ganesan's case although he was a national schools athlete and had won honours for the country.
The then Sports Minister, the late Tan Sri Dr Sulaiman Daud, whom I had interviewed soon after he assumed his new post after having served the Education Ministry, had said he would ensure that athletes who performed well were given some form of exemption for entry into institutions of higher learning.
After reading the article, Ganesan asked if I could help him meet Dr Sulaiman to plead his case. I told Ganesan to come to Merdeka Stadium where Dr Sulaiman was a guest of honour at an athletics meet.
I took Ganesan to the good minister during tea break and here is what he told the lad: “My boy, at the end of the day, results in sports cannot compensate for education results. You have to get the required results to gain entry.”
After the dejected Ganesan left, I asked Dr Sulaiman why he had talked differently in the interview.
He simply replied: “Yeah, but we cannot compromise on grades required for entries.”
But Ganesan, determined to pursue his studies, called me a few months later to say he had got into the university. When I asked him how, he said he had gone to Penang for the national schools meet where Tun Abdullah Ahmad Badawi, the then Education Minister, was the guest of honour. He said he approached Abdullah and pleaded his case. Abdullah, after seeing both his academic and sports certificates, told him to go back to Kuala Lumpur and wait for a letter.
A few days later, Ganesan received a letter from Universiti Pertanian asking him to come for an interview. The lad eventually gained entry and graduated a few years later. He is now a successful businessman.
This story brings us to this question: How many talented athletes have been denied the opportunity to further their studies because they concentrated on their performance on the track than in the classroom?
After 30 years, nothing much has changed as I came across another case where a budding middle-distance runner, both of whose parents are celebrated national athletes, was denied entry into pre-university.
This athlete had dropped out of an excellence school in the city because he was homesick and lonely. Doesn’t the athlete deserve a second chance, especially having done well in the national athletics meet and, above all, possessing the genes of sports personalities? We have bureaucracy to thank for this state of affairs.
The national teams of the 1960s to 1980s were truly Malaysian in nature, comprising the best players available.
Malaysia is in a wonderful position of being able to pick from so many races, each with their own strengths, unlike South Korea, Japan and China, which have only one race to depend on. When combined, these Malaysians would definitely make a world class team.
So, let’s start playing it fair from the word go and maybe Malaysia will be able to attain far better results than it does now.
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

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Family on right track


IT rarely happens but Josephine Mary and Samson Vallabuoy, national middle distance runners in the 80's, have kept the tradition going with their two daughters.
Josephine, 47, and Samson, 48, were products of the Panther athletics club in Ipoh, helmed by national coach K. Jayabalan. The two national athletes married in 1995. Their union produced two daughters -- Jocelyn, 18, and Sheeren, 16, and both have represented Perak in athletics.
Sheeren is currently in Bukit Jalil Sports School (BJSS) and has qualified as a member of the 4x400m relay team for the Asian Games in Incheon, South Korea, next month.
At the Malaysian Open in Kangar this year, Sheeren won the silver medals in the 400m and 4x400m. She also made her international debut in the Taiwan Open, where she finished fourth.
Jocelyn was a student in BJSS in 2012, but withdrew after five months because of personal reasons. She represented Perak in the 4x100m and 4x400m at the Malaysian Open, winning bronze. Currently, she is a pre-university student in Ipoh.
Husband-and-wife team
Josephine, who represented Malaysia in six Sea Games (1983 to 1993), three Asian Track and Field (ATF) championships (1987 to 1991) and two Asian Games (1986 to 1990) still holds the national 800m record set at the Seoul Asian Games in 1986, where she won bronze in a time of 2:07.44.
She also set the 400m record of 52.65s at the 1989 Sea Games, which was bettered by the late Rabia Abdul Salam who clocked 52.56s at the ATF in Manila in 1993.
Samson holds the Sea Games 800m record of 1:48.29 when he beat Isidro del Prado’s record 25 years ago.He was also a member of the 4x400m relay team (Azhar Hashim, Yazid Parlan, Samson and Nordin Jadi) who set a national record of 3:06.53 at the ATF in 1991.
Josephine (white shirt) conducting a training session for junior athletes at Perak Stadium.
Parental guidance
Josephine, who worked at Maybank, quit her job in 1997 to become a fulltime housewife. As their daughters grew up, she and Samson coached them in athletics and it no surprise that they soon excelled in the sport.
It was only in 2011 that Josephine, who holds a Level 3 coaching certificate, was roped in as coach by the Perak Sports Council.
Currently, she has 17 young athletes (all girls) training under her at the Perak Stadium six times a week. Samson, who runs a used car and transportation firm near the stadium, assists her whenever he has the time.
Athletics a way of life
“Athletics has been a part and parcel of my life. Now to be able to coach my two daughters to emulate the success of my husband and I is something I cherish,” said Josephine, who was recently in the US as coach of the national junior team at the World Junior championships in Oregon.
“Being able to coach the young talents in Perak means a lot because I want to to give back to the sport by producing a champion or two,” said Josephine, who was one of the coaches at the Malaysia Games (Sukma) in Kangar.
“Josephine is so dedicated to athletics that she turned down a lucrative salary to work for my company,” said Samson.
“As much as I want to be involved in athletics, someone has to work to feed the family. But I still help Josephine in the evenings when I am at the stadium to do my runs,” said Samson.
Sad state of athletics Both Josephine and Samson, however, lamented about the sad state of athletics in the country.
“In our time, the competition was so keen and one had to train very hard to be recognised among the best,” said Josephine, who has the proud honour of being the only female athlete chosen to represent the Asian team at the 1989 World Continental championships in Spain, where she competed in the relay team with the likes of India’s P.T. Usha and Shiny Abraham.
“As much as I am proud that my 800m record still stands after 28 years, I am sad that no one has erased it. It only underlines the poor state of athletics in the country.”
Samson said there were so many middle distance runners in the 80s and anyone of them could have won on their day.
“Today, there are so few athletes. We are in a situation where we do not have athletes to represent in events in the Sea Games. Even at the national meet, many events do not have heats or are scrapped due to the lack of entrants,” said Samson.
Both agreed that the decline started at the schools level, lack of young coaches, opportunities to make athletics a career, poor administration and many having their own agendas.
“There are ultra-modern facilities, sports science, nutrition and rewards to be reaped, yet we cannot find enough athletes who ca excel," said Josephine.
Glorious days
Both Josephine and Samson recalled the days when the government services, interbank, state and national championships were glamourous events which drew bumper entries.
“Today, there is too much infighting (among officials) and very little done for the athletes.
“Coaches, too, are a diminishing breed. However, coaches from our time are still around. We are indeed grateful to them for making us who we were, but we need to see fresh blood with new ideas," said Samson.
But Josephine and Samson said they will continue to do what little they can to help athletics.
Their genes alone will certainly help Malaysia see another champion in either Jocelyn or Shereen.

Friday, August 8, 2014


Enough is enough!

FRIDAY, AUGUST 08, 2014 - The Malay mail
EVERYONE had their two sen’s worth of comments regarding Malaysia’s performance at the Glasgow Commonwealth Games that ended on Sunday.
This is nothing new as it happens after every Games be it Asian, Commonwealth or SEA.
The question to be asked is did we learn any lessons and improve our performance? The answer is NO!
Nobody says anything critical in the runup. They praise the preparations, set lofty targets and fi ght tooth and nail to include the most number of officials and athletes to the Games.
Nobody wants to rock the boat for fear of being left out of the trip.
Singapore’s Danny Chrisnanta (right) and Chayut Triyachart won the men’s doubles gold by defeating Malaysia.
Now that the Games are over and the dust is settling, everyone is reviewing Malaysia’s performance, pinpointing the shortcomings and problems in preparing the teams and offering ideas to improve the various sports.
But then, all the reviews, reports and recommendations are relegated to the back of the cupboard to collect dust.
Some criticise for the sake of criticising, others with an agenda in mind, many look for excuses and yet others say something to get the heat away from them.
Very few stand up to take the blame or step down from their posts.
This year, everyone is comparing our performance with that of Singapore. That shouldn’t be the case.
Singapore fi nished 11th with eight gold, five silver and four bronze medals while Malaysia ended 12th with six gold, seven silver and six bronze medals.
The city state won the majority of its medals through naturalised citizens who are not even from Commonwealth nations.
It had athletes from China, Indonesia and Thailand who didn’t even know the national anthem.
Six of Singapore’s gold medals came from a possible of seven from table tennis and another two from seven from badminton.
Malaysia’s gold medals came from badminton, squash, diving and weightlifting.
Singapore focuses only on a few sports and it is its policy to grant citizenship to foreign talent who can represent the nation.
Malaysia spreads itself too thin by focusing on many elite sports. But do we want to depend on naturalised citizens to win medals? I don’t think so.

There needs to be proper planning I am sure we have more than enough talent among our 30 million population to do Malaysia proud.
More often than not, we succumb to knee-jerk reaction, planning for short-term success and emphasising elite preparations rather than laying proper foundations.
Malaysian sports need a major revamp from top to bottom. Remove those who no longer serve their purpose, people who have become too powerful and are dictators.
Obviously, there will be great resistance from the incumbents who cling to their posts as if their lives depended on it.
Any plan for the future has to underline grassroots development and set long-term targets of at least eight to 12 years.
If we continue to implement short-term programmes and hope to see results yesterday, we are looking at nothing but disappointment.
I believe Malaysians have tremendous potential in sports, but it has to be tapped well. The right people have to be put in charge and defi nitely, the programme has to be long-term.
All this may sound like a dream, but dreams can become reality if we put our heart and soul into it.
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

Monday, August 4, 2014

Age of the godfather

Published on Saturday 2 August - The Malay Mail


TAN Sri Elyas Omar is synonymous with sports.
He is a man for all seasons and is known by many names — Man with the Midas touch, the godfather of Malaysian sport, Malaysian sports saviour, sports icon of Malaysia, the gift to sport, man wearing many caps, sports sheriff, white knight et al.
Visionary ideas
Elyas is equally, if not better, known for his visionary ideas in the administrative fi eld that broke new ground.
However, it was only when he was the third Lord Mayor of Kuala Lumpur from 1981 to 1992 that Elyas’ popularity grew, especially among the city folk, who enjoyed a “new city” under him.
As mayor of Kuala Lumpur, Elyas introduced numerous changes to the management, beautification and development of the city, which included privatising several of the projects and activities undertaken by City Hall.
These projects included new townships through the redevelopment of squatter areas, an improved transport system (LRT and monorail), development of a sports township (Bandar Tun Razak) where an international-standard stadium, velodrome and a badminton hall were built, and the creation of a sports-cum-technology town which became the venue for the 1998 Commonwealth Games (Bukit Jalil).
Elyas also conceptualised the Kuala Lumpur City Centre with the Petronas Twin Towers and Merdeka Square, boasting of the tallest fl ag pole in the world.
Bowling sought him first
The bowling community was among the fi rst to recognise Elyas’ brilliance, with the Malaysian Tenpin Bowling Congress appointing him their patron in the early 1980s.
Elyas became much sought after in the sports fraternity and he soon became involved in football, badminton and cycling. Among his notable achievements in sport was when he turned the Kuala Lumpur football team into a professional set-up by engaging world-renowned coach Dr Josef Venglos and engaging professional players.
With a firm development programme in place, the Kuala Lumpur team went on to become Malaysia Cup champions for three consecutive years from 1987 to 1989 and won all trophies at stake before 1990.
“This was among the memorable moments of my involvement in sports, where we managed to see the city team transform from minnows to giants over a short period with proper planning and contribution from the best like Dr Venglos,” said Elyas proudly.
At national level, as president of the Badminton Association of Malaysia from 1986 to 1994, Elyas was largely instrumental in the sport regaining its lost glory when Malaysia won the Thomas Cup in 1992.
“Winning the Thomas Cup after waiting for 25 years was indeed sweet. This is another memorable moment for me in sports.”
Cycling, too, enjoyed steady growth and success with Elyas heading the national body from 1984 to 1988.
Elyas was also vice-president of the Football Association of Malaysia from 1984 to 1998 and managed the National Youth Squad from 1994 to 1997 for the 1997 Youth World Cup in Malaysia.
tan sri
With Elyas at the helm,badminton cycling and football were at the forefront of Malaysian sports. — Picture by Zuraneeza Zulkifli
Experience saw him recognised
Elyas’ vast experience in various fields also saw him become adviser to the president and the government of Senegal in 2004, a position he held for more than a year.
The former KL mayor was made the Sports Commissioner of Malaysia in 2005 and remained in the post until 2008.
He is currently non-executive independent director and chairman of several companies.
For his invaluable contribution to Malaysian sport, Elyas was inducted into the Olympic Council of Malaysia’s Hall of Fame in 2007.
His other accolades 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 the Sports Writers Association of Malaysia in 1992.
Elyas, who turns 78 on Nov 16, is still dispensing advice to whoever seeks it.
Another dream in the offing
He still has dreams to leave another legacy for Malaysian football which he will disclose when plans are finalised.
“This is my personal contribution to Malaysian football. I am now seeking the money which is round RM10 million to get it off the ground.”
Asked if he had any regrets in his tenure in sports, he said: “I wished my departure from City Hall was not premature. I was supposed to serve my term till 1994, but was prematurely evicted in 1992 through no fault of mine. There were many who were envious of me and wanted me out.
"If I had two more years, maybe I would have put Malaysian sport on a better footing.
Yes, I did a lot. But maybe it was not enough. Look at badminton now. We have tremendous talent which surfaced, but it was still not good enough to sustain our superiority. Maybe I could have done something more.”
Parting words on sports
On how Malaysian sport can improve, he said it needs a complete overhaul. “It is time for fresh blood to step in with fresh ideas. We need people who are passionate and seriously interested in the development of sports and not have their own agendas.”
Elyas has indeed devoted almost a lifetime to Malaysian sport and is still passionate to contribute. Indeed a true icon.

Saturday, August 2, 2014

Have a heart for past sport personalities

FRIDAY, AUGUST 01, 2014 - The Malay Mail
Former cycling champion Rosli Abdul Kadir, 73, washes cars for a living. — File picture

THERE are many former national sportsmen and women who are disillusioned and the authorities need to speak to them.
I have been interviewing many former athletes for the column Icons from the past, which appears in the Malay Mail on Saturdays.
While some obliged me with an interview and revealed many unknown and interesting facts, others flatly refused to be interviewed.
No amount of persuasion worked.
They all said the same things: “What for? All is over. We are a forgotten lot. What has been done for us?”
It was a good chance for them to air their grouses, yet they apologised and declined the interviewed.
If these sportsmen and women, who are in their sixties and seventies, do not want to reminisce about their heyday, they must be really hurting.
So, what are they unhappy about?
Of course, comparing their condition then with that of the athletes today — so much more benefits, exposure, facilities, expertise and rewards — would be unfair.
Times have changed and the sports universe has gone professional.
So, what are they bitter about?
Many of them are happy present-day athletes are getting so many benefits. They are just sore that these athletes are unappreciative and do not give their best or show any passion.
These icons also hope with sports having been elevated to a professional level, the athletes of the past will not be forgotten.
Many of these sports luminaries are struggling to make ends meet. Some are even doing menial jobs.
It is hoped that today’s sportsmen and women will not suffer the same fate in their old age, although they get rewarded handsomely for victories now.
This is where the Ministry of Sports and National Sports Council (NSC) should seriously review their incentive payment scheme under which lump sums are paid for wins at the various levels of championships.
Commonwealth Games gold medallists will get RM80,000 each and one of the winners, weightlifter Mohd Hafifi Mansor, has said it is going to help him purchase a house for his family in Terengganu.
That is money well spent. But many athletes spend their reward unwisely and before they know it, have no savings.
I know many young athletes in their twenties who have quit sports after winning medals and being rewarded.
They all said they wanted to start a business but when it goes bust, are left either driving taxis or doing odd jobs.
Wouldn’t it be better for the NSC to pay only a portion of the rewards and place the rest in a retirement fund for athletes? Right now, only Olympic medallists receive a pension based on the colour of their medal.
The South Koreans have a better system under which points are awarded for different levels of achievement and tabulated, so that when the athletes retire, they have a lifelong pension based on the points accumulated.
Our past athletes only have Yakeb (Yayasan Kebajikan Atlet Kebangsaan/National Athletes’ Foundation), which was formed in 2007 with the main objective of managing the welfare of all national athletes, past and present.
The foundation was established to give recognition to all national athletes who have contributed and sacrificed to bring glory to the nation.
Its assistance in paying for medicine for its members is very much appreciated.
It also handles some of the funeral expenses (RM1,000), hospital admission (RM500),natural disaster (RM500), funeral expenses for the husband or wife of members (RM500), marriage (RM250), education expenses per semester (RM500 –RM1,500, depending on the course attended) and monthly payments for former athletes who are unemployed and above 65 (RM300 per month) and for physically challenged athletes (RM150 per month).
Surely, more can be done for our ex-athletes? For starters, maybe the government can give a token pension to those who are 60 and above while a proper pension scheme can be worked out for the present batch.
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