Thursday, September 25, 2008


This is an interesting article I picked up from The star Online today. Interesting because the NS MB came out in the open and admitted that there are white elephants in the state. Just how many others will admit to this fact after hosting Sukma.

"Negeri Sembilan Mentri Besar Datuk Seri Mohamad Hasan lashed out on Wednesday at state agencies for the poor maintenance of sports facilities.

He said several facilities that cost of millions of ringgit to build were not being used and some had fallen apart.

“This is embarrassing as it shows the management of these facilities have not been looking after them.

“I do not want them to point fingers but urge them to find ways to manage these places,” he said, citing the three squash courts in Seremban 2 that cannot be used because the parquet flooring was coming apart due to erosion caused by a leaky roof.

“No one was interested in plugging the leaks and now we have to spend money to repair all three courts,” he told reporters after chairing the state exco meeting at Wisma Negri.

Mohamad said many other sports facilities such as an Olympic-sized swimming pool, a lawn ball turf and a shooting range in Mantin, built for the 2004 Sukma Games, were under-utilised.

He said the 10 badminton courts at the Seremban 2 Sports Complex were also hardly used.

“We bought 30 different types of guns to be used for those who wished to take up shooting. But sadly no one knows where the guns are or how to go about using the shooting range.

“When I asked, the Seremban Municipal Council and the state Sports Council said they were not aware who was responsible. I hope I will not hear such excuses again.”

Monday, September 22, 2008


Over the past week some interesting developments have been highlighted in the main stream media. And I wish not to talk about what has been reported but some issues that might just make it into the print media soon.

Hockey: While the top two are fighting among themselves, there seems to be a challenge for the Hon. Secretary's position from within the Armed Forces.

NSC: Seems that there are under currents that a national sports association is about to reveal some poor financial decisions made by the NSC.

Social: Seems that a renowned club was raided by the Immigration for having foreign workers without proper documentation.

Football: Selangor to unveil its new coach and two promising youngsters who will be joining the Red Giants.

Football:Sathia's preparation for AFF will not be that great as teams coming for the Merdeka Tournament are Vietnam, Nepal, Myanmar, Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Sierra Leone, Kazakstan and Malaysia.

Monday, September 15, 2008


There seems to be a clamour to bid for new Sports Schools. But before we go any further, perhaps Hishamuddin and YB from Bera could care to look at some unfinished business from 2004.

The Sports Advisory Panel had after the Athens Olympic debacle proposed that a re-think be conducted on the manner in which Sports Schools are administrated. Hishamuddin then jumped the gun and took a swipe at the SAP.

Now 4 years on the SAP Chairman for Sports and Education Ministry is one and the same, Dato Wira Mazlan Ahmad. Perhaps he may want to re-visit the argument of 2004 and see what he can correct. Mind you his views were sought on the final report of the Athens Olympics.

"SHORT of sparking a war of words, the Education Ministry have been told
they had got it all wrong on the Sports Advisory Panel's conclusion on why
the country's sports schools were heading in the wrong direction.
And to clear the air, the Panel, headed by FA of Malaysia vice-president
Datuk Seri Dr Ibrahim Saad, suggested that Education Minister Datuk
Hishammuddin Hussein should perhaps read the article highlighted by
Timesport on Tuesday "before jumping the gun."
"I don't know where he got the idea from but to say that we blamed the
sports schools for the failure of our athletes to secure medals in the
recently concluded Olympic Games is indeed wrong," said Ibrahim.
"In fact, the post-mortem report on the Games has not even been
"Therefore, how can we point fingers and blame the athletes from the
sports schools for the failure?"
The Panel, Ibrahim said, was formed in July well before the Olympics
started and his conclusion was actually based on meetings and interviews
with sports officials and athletes on various aspects of the sports
development in the country "and not about the failure in the Olympic
"I only highlighted the way how things should and should not be done at
the Bukit Jalil and Bandar Penawar sports schools," said Ibrahim, in
response to Hishammuddin telling the Panel not to blame the schools for
the non-performance of athletes.
An unhappy Hishammuddin, who said that he does not want the schools to
be punching bags, pointed out that Malaysia would not have won any medals
in the Asian of Sea Games had the schools not produced the athletes.
While at pains to stress he was not out to pick a quarrel with anyone,
Ibrahim suggests that the Education Minister pay a visit the schools and
find out for himself how much priority sports is being given at both the
sports schools.
"We are here to do good for sports for the nation and not finding fault
with anyone.
"Why should anyone take offence to our statement?
"Do you want me to produce a `I scratch-your-back-you-scratch-my back'
kind of good report?"
Ibrahim reiterated that a sports schools should place emphasis on sports
training and not be bound by the rules and regulations pertaining to
examinations and the academic calendar.
"If a student needs to compete in a tournament overseas in a week's time
and also has to sit for his Sijil Pelajaran Malaysia (SPM) very soon
after, he should be allowed to sit for the SPM at a later date or even
next year instead of rushing home and scramble to his studies.
"There must be flexibility as sports should be the priority. That's what
sports schools are all about.
"Apart from that, sports schools should be equipped with professional
coaches and pyschologists as well as dieticians."
Ibrahim said the Panel, who have since met eight times in six weeks,
would submit their report to the Sports Ministry on their findings soon.
"There is no doubt that the sports schools need a review on their
approach and policies,' Ibrahim concluded.


There has been virtually a war of words between the Sports Commissioner and the Olympic Council of Malaysia pertaining to the Sports Development Act 1998.

It all boils down to changes that are being proposed that are not acceptable to OCM whereas what OCM proposed years ago has not even been considered by the Sports Ministry. Refer to what I wrote before Azalina took over from Hishammuddin in 2004.

THE Sports Development Act will not be used as a tool to weed out
incompetent sports officials in the country.
Rather, the Sports Minister, who is empowered to enforce the 1988 Act
through the Sports Commissioner's Office, will allow the affiliates to
decide on the fate of the deadwood in sports associations.
With Datuk Hishammuddin Hussein reluctant to use the provisions in the
Sports Development Act, nothing much can be done to remove non-performing
officials, some of whom have been in their positions for over three
Hishammuddin is even reluctant to impose term limits on principal office
bearers and the non-performers are likely to continue keeping out new
people with fresh ideas.
"I am not going to use the Sports Development Act to get officials to
vacate their positions," said Hishammuddin.
"It is up to members to remove officials they feel have not or cannot
contribute effectively towards the sport.
"It is really up to the affiliates to decide on how their association is
However, Hishammuddin concedes that in extreme cases, where the
development and progress of a sport is affected, he will use the Act as an
axe and notes the Malaysian Amateur Athletics Union (MAAU) as a case in
"There have been suggestions to limit the age of office bearers but I
have no plans to go with that.
"However, the associations are welcome to make changes to their own
The irony is that even the Olympic Council of Malaysia (OCM), the
umbrella body for sports in the country, have shied away from the issue
despite coming out strongly for term limits.
OCM President Tunku Imran Tuanku Jaafar was all for limiting the
duration of principal office bearers to two Olympic cycles or eight years.
However, OCM did not make any such changes to their own constitution at
their Annual General Meeting last November.
The International Olympic Committee (IOC) have an age limit and sports
officials in Japan hold positions only until they are 70.
Even in the Asian Football Confederation (AFC) elected officials can
only serve till they are 70.
The officials in the National Sports Council (NSC), a statutory body
formed under the National Sports Council Act 1971, can only serve until
they are 56.
So why can't there be a limit on the age of those serving in national or
State sports bodies?

Friday, September 12, 2008

Give every man thy ear, but few thy voice: Take every man’s censure, but reserve thy judgement

My last two posts are directed at the administrators of Malaysian Sports, be it at National Sports Associations of National Sports Council.

It is an open secret that you have to be in the correct camp to survive the politics in Malaysian Sports. And the latest news I received where a representative of a sponsor was forced out of his position due to under hand tactics displayed by some quarters is truly a low blow for Malaysian Sports.

There is no denying that some quarters will stoop to newer depths to protect their interests and will not allow anyone to stand in their way as their quest for power seem to have driven them mad.

What these people should realise is that the best administrators and managers should have the capacity to convince their charges of the worth of their task, mission or goal.

For those without a sense of purpose or belief are erratic, directionless and often are without the lack of drive to work, prepare, compete and rebound from disappointments, and they should just leave.

Convincing others of the vision and direction to be taken is a crucial part of the task, and it is only by giving meaning and direction that the best results can be achieved, but often they hoodwink others with their fancy stories and high powered connections.

The task of convincing, directing and persuading requires vision and capacity to lay down a pathway or roadmap underpinned by a believable vision and modus operandi. But today it is done by threats, manipulation and blackmail.

As an administrator, you are often keen to tell people what to do, to point out faults or persuade through your reasoned arguments, not by stabbing people in the back and doing that with a poker face.

Sometimes the best course of action is to raise the issue and then let it dwell in silence while the group or individual considers the detail, but how long will silence help?

Still my advice is never be too quick to give the answer or your account. Silence is a powerful tool, which many are uncomfortable with, yet solutions and truths that emerge through reflections and contemplation carry much more weight than answers or solutions given by the boss.

Modern management requires the integration of information from a wide variety of sources, both internal and external, expert and pragmatic. The true quality of your ability requires the ingestion and digestion of all this information.

The best administrators know how to listen and will utilize a variety of resources. To quote Hamlet “ Give every man thy ear, but few thy voice: Take every man’s censure, but reserve thy judgement.”


Competition for professional sports jobs will continue to be extremely intense.
However we could well do without the government at times over relying on foreign expertise when the locals are quite capable of doing the same jobs.

If the locals are not been given a chance to prove their worth, then we will continue to be in the backwaters when it comes to administrative skills.

Though some might disagree, the words of wisdom from OCM Hon. Secretary Datuk Sieh Kok Chi is something worth pondering upon.

For Kok Chi had lamented that if we pay peanuts we get monkeys and if we pay bigger peanuts we tend to get bigger monkeys.

How true, for there is a tendency to overpay the foreigners whereas when the locals apply for the same position, they tend to be given a lower salary thus there is no fair play or justice.

Sometimes it tends to make these capable administrators feel that it is sin to be Malaysian.

The authorities must change their perception and start relying on the locals to head the committees or special projects that have been earmarked towards gaining international excellence.

A friend once said that the prophet is often not believed on his own land and that is no longer a myth but a reality in the Malaysian sports fraternity.


Today, we pay scant attention the Malaysia Cup and other local competitions. We have all been converted to the English Premier League, ardent devotees of a football religion practised thousands of miles away.

The fault is in our changing perpectives and values and misguided social dogmas which have strayed drastically off the straight and narrow of tolerance and acceptance which once made Malaysian football great. There is no need for insightful soul-searching or recriminations.

The problem, if we only choose to see it with 2020 vision, is in our changing attitudes. The cloud over the game is that of bigotry and hypocrsiy, the refusal to accept the reality of the situation.

There can be no quotas in sports. Only the best will do and most nations recognise this immutable fact. Malaysian soccer lost its lustre two decades ago and we are still trying to fool ourselves that we can polish dull granite into diamonds.

The game is in a state of chaos governed by an association leading by disassociation. The inertia is suffocating. The states are doing their own thing, which ususally is nothing. The clubs are doing their own thing, which usually is nothing. And the schools are doing their own thing, which is, again,, nothing. All that nothing is telling on the game.

Tuesday, September 02, 2008


This book will forever change the way you think and feel about professional sport.

The Fix is the most explosive story of sports corruption in a generation. It presents compelling evidence that some of the highest soccer matches in the world may have been fixed: European Champions League, Olympic and World Cup tournaments.

Intriguing, riveting, and compelling, it tells the story of an investigative journalist, Declan Hill, who set out to examine the world of match-fixing in professional soccer.

Initially very skeptical, Hill came face-to-face with the multi-billion dollar illegal Asian gambling industry. Over 4 years, he interviewed more than two hundred people, including professional gamblers, Mafia hitmen, undercover cops, top-level international soccer players, referees, and officials. He met men who claim they have bribed their way into changing the results of some of the biggest games in the sport.

Initially very sceptical, Hill travelled across four continents to corroborate their stories. He found soccer leagues where mobsters have fixed more than eighty per cent of the games. But most chilling, he met and then was adopted by a small group of match-fixers.

In The Fix, Hill explains the structure and mechanics of illegal gambling syndicates, what soccer players and referees do (or not do) to affect the outcome of their games, why relatively rich and high-status athletes would fix games, how and why club officials would bribe the opposition and how they get referees “on their side.”

Perhaps most shocking is Hill’s discovery that gambling fixers have successfully infiltrated the game, all the way to the top international matches.

The book, however, is not just about soccer, the world’s most popular sport. Throughout the text, Hill uses examples from other sports – tennis, hockey, even rowing – to show that the credibility of professional sport now lies on a fragile foundation, and it provides enough hints to suspect that all sports above amateur level should look nervously over the shoulder.