Skip to main content

Thousand apologies for being polite

Haresh Says, as published in Mailsport today.

IT was witty yet riddled with sarcasm — a back page that would have caused Newcastle manager Alan Pardew to choke on the bacon roll he had for breakfast.  
England’s Sunday Sun ridiculed Pardew, in an ‘apologetic’ fashion, as the Magpies recorded a series of losses with the recent being a 1-0 defeat to Stoke on Saturday in the Premier League. This was after Pardew blamed the local press for the fans’ anger following the team’s poor outing.
It was a clever effort, more cheeky than anything else, but it got the message across loud and clear.
In short it read:

Dear Mr Pardew,
Enough of blaming the Press.
You are the reason why the fans are hopping mad.

Now imagine a similar piece plastered on our back pages.
To be fair, most sports journos in Malaysian have the upper hand of being rather critical and ‘aggressive’, to a certain extent, compared to their counterparts in other desks. 
But this was during the days where sports officials understood the true principals of sportsmanship and fair play.
Colleagues recalled days where former National Sports Council director general Datuk Wira Mazlan Ahamd would take criticism with stride but he never threatened to sue any pressman for their work — right or wrong.
KL Football Association president Datuk Astaman Aziz has had disagreements over some articles published but it was always resolved over a cup of tea. The same could be said of former FA of Malaysia general-secretary Datuk Azzuddin Ahmad as we still enjoyed a cordial relationship.
These are true ‘sportsmen’. Sadly, there aren’t many of them around.
In recent years, reporters have been gagged with legal suits, threats and some even banned from entering stadiums. Reports which were seen to be against the establishment or organisation were frowned upon, regardless if they were written in a fair and truthful manner.
And we also have sports officials, some being government servants, who tend to dictate terms, lording over the domestic sports scene even if it does not concern them.
Of course if all fails, those who feel victimised could seek justice through the legal process.
But let’s put it this way, most of our back pages are still ‘polite’ to the officials.

Civil servants are not above the law

Speaking of justice, the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) had last week said “punitive action should be taken against those responsible” over the RM1.6 million K-pop fiasco during the National Youth Day celebration last year.
It was widely reported the three K-pop groups — U-Kiss, Teen-Top and Dal Shabet — were brought in by Stadium First Sdn Bhd.
The spotlight seems to only hog over former Sports Minister Datuk Seri Ahmad Shabery Cheek but what about those behind Stadium First and the administrators, current and former, who were well aware of the deal?
A day later, the High Court, had on April 11, ruled absolute immunity for public servants has no place in a progressive democratic society.
This was said by Judicial Commissioner Vazeer Alam Mydin Meera in dismissing an application by the public prosecutor and 11 others to strike out a civil suit filed by former Commercial Crimes Investigation Department director Datuk Ramli Yusuff against them and another similar application by lawyer Rosli Dahlan against the Attorney-General and 10 others.
In short, the PAC and courts spoke in a similar tone — civil SERVANTS are not above the law and they should be accountable for their actions. 
Sports officials must be subjected to the same scrutiny. After all, it does involve the Rakyat’s money and not to mention millions of corporate sponsorship. 
Otherwise, we could ‘politely’ run an apologetic back page to say sorry for the millions of tax payers’ money wasted by government servants and officials in the name of sporting excellence.

HARESH is editor (investigations and special projects) of the Malay Mail. Banter with him at or on Twitter @HareshDeol


Popular posts from this blog

What went wrong with KL SEA Games?

145 gold medals.
It's the best Team Malaysia has ever achieved since the inception of the SEAP Games in1959.
The 29th edition of the SEA Games in Kuala Lumpur ended yesterday. The opening ceremony dazzled those at the stands and viewers at home while the performances during the closing ceremony yesterday jogged plenty of musical memories to many.
Our athletes, the real superheroes, brought smiles through their heroic display. They made everyday a happy day.
Kudos to the officials - from the coaches, the National Sports Institute and National Sports Council - for their hard work in ensuring our athletes perform to their best.
But it was not all memorable.

'World fashion disaster' in KL

World Fashion Week Asia 2017 ended over the weekend.

And the launch on Friday at Palace of the Golden Horses at Mines Resort City just outside Kuala Lumpur turned out to be a forgettable night.


It was poorly organised.

Just as many are trying to get over the nightmare witnessed throughout the KL SEA Games, the organiser of World Fashion Week Asia 2017 has made it look like Malaysians seem to have lost it when it comes to hosting major events and hospitality.

Here's why.

Royal protocol ignored

1. The Sultanah of Terengganu Sultanah Nur Zahirah was invited to grace the event.
    a. There was no holding room for the Sultanah and VIPs accompanying her.
    b. The Sultanah was invited on stage without anyone accompanying her there (a big NO NO if anyone knows protocol involving royalty).
    c. The event dragged on till 11.30pm, way past the cut off point of the very many events I've attended with members of the royal family present.
   d. The Sultanah was forced to walk all t…

Klang run 'illegal', says Sports Commissioner

UPDATE (Dec 11; 11.58am): Sporting events approved by Sports Commissioner's Office will be posted on the Youth and Sports Ministry's website starting Dec 14, as revealed by the Sports Commissioner in her statement today. I'm glad the last point of my observation (as per posting right below) has been addressed.


UPDATE (10.57pm): A Twitter user had sent me a link by the organiser of the Klang Heritage Marathon 2017. It states that the marathon has been "postponed to Oct 14, 2018" and that they have been victims of fake news and will lodge reports with the authorities against materials with elements of defamation or fake news. Read the full statement, posted on Dec 2, here.


A Klang City International Marathon 2017 pacer suffered serious injuries after she and two others were hit by a car

Turns out that the organiser of this morning's event, Earth Runners International Group Sdn Bhd, DID NOT submit any application to the Sports Commissioner&#…