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Azmin can be hockey’s champion

Going Nuts as published in Mailsport today


WRESTLING was once described by respected English journalist James Lawton as finely orchestrated fake violence — with real injuries.

He forgot to mention the compelling drama, brilliant scripts and formidable actors aka the wrestlers who make docile grandmothers scream and spit at their television sets while watching the “action” unfold.

Wrestlers can be the face (good guys) one day and heel (bad guys) the next and there doesn’t have to be a reason why one switches from one character to another.

Similarly, Azmin Ali was seen as a “heel” when he took over from Tan Sri Khalid Ibrahim as Selangor menteri besar two months ago.

Since then, however, the 50-year-old Gombak MP has gone on a charm offensive in a bid to become a “face”.

His recent move to give the state’s 12 opposition MPs RM200,000 each to use for their constituency plus a Toyota Camry worth RM200,000 to opposition leader Datuk Mohd Shamsudin Lias including bearing the costs of fuel and the salaries of a driver and secretary totalling RM100,424 annually under his People Friendly Programme, was lauded by everyone.

Until, that is, the Umno reps made an about turn to reject the offer after initially welcoming it — as they feel it is not enough. The state government MPs receive RM700,000 each.

So that means there is a RM2.5 million surplus (not including the price of a second hand Camry). Loose change for the richest state in Malaysia.

What can Azmin do with the extra cash?

Well, how about using it to repair the Pandamaran and PJ Hockey Stadiums?

The Pandaraman Stadium was declared unsafe by the Selangor Hockey Association (SHA) in 2010 while the PJ stadium has not been repaired since 2003.

It is estimated it would cost RM4.45 million to repair Pandamaran and another RM3.5 million for PJ.

Pandamaran is among the oldest hockey stadiums in the country. It was built in 1984 and only changed its carpet/turf once — in 1998.

In January, former Pandamaran assemblyman Ronnie Lau said the state approved some RM600,000 for Klang Municipal Council to refurbish Pandamaran Stadium. However, only minor repair works were carried out.

State governments and chief ministers have come and gone and yet not a single soul has bothered to help restore either stadium — perhaps it wasn’t appealing enough to the voters.

Malay Mail and other media organisations have highlighted the pathetic condition of these two venues over the years and now there could be a light at the end of this long dark tunnel.

On Nov 1, executive councillor for Youth Generation Sports, Culture and Entrepreneur Development, Amirudin Shari visited the PJ Stadium and claimed the state budget (which was tabled on Monday) would discuss the approval of funds for the repair works on both stadiums.

SHA has yet to hear anything but its officials are keeping their fingers crossed.

SHA has soldiered on despite the many empty promises from the elected leaders and it is a miracle it has remained among the more successful associations despite not having a single pitch to use.

The Selangor league, which attracts 20-25 teams and 400-500 players, continues — with matches played in and around Kuala Lumpur.

It’s time something is done.

Azmin can, to use a wrestling metaphor, become “the people’s (hockey) champion” by finally settling the hockey woes in the state.

If you smell, what SHA is cooking …

Naming rights

Kuala Lumpur folks are up in arms over the decision to change the names of nine major roads.

They are Jalan Duta (Jalan Tuanku Abdul Halim), Jalan Khidmat Usaha (Jalan Sultan Haji Ahmad Shah), Jalan Ipoh (Jalan Sultan Azlan Shah), Persiaran Duta (Persiaran Tuanku Syed Sirajuddin), Jalan Khidmat Setia and Jalan Ibadah (Jalan Sultan Mizan Zainal Abidin), Lebuhraya Mahameru (Lebuhraya Sultan Iskandar), Persiaran Mahameru (Persiaran Tuanku Ja’afar) and Jalan Semarak (Jalan Sultan Yahya Petra).

Most agree it is good to honour our past kings but said it would have been better to name new roads or since there is already a Persiaran Sultan Salahuddin Abdul Aziz Shah in Putrajaya the other roads there could have been renamed after the other monarchs.

This way, it does not affect the heritage and history of these roads.

But, how about naming our sporting arenas after them?

Instead of the plain National Stadium in Bukit Jalil, wouldn’t it have been better to rename it after Sultan Ahmad Shah, the long serving FA of Malaysia president who was King from 1979-1984?

There’s also Malawati, Putra, Juara and Shah Alam Stadium among others in the Klang Valley with bland sounding names.

It’s enough to drive one nuts.

Graig Nunis is Sports Editor, Malay Mail. He can be reached at: gnunis@mmail.com.my  or on Twitter @gnunis1892

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