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Hand AFC the red card

As published in Malay Mail today


Comment by Haresh Deol haresh@mmail.com.my
AND just like that, a case is closed.
The Asian Football Confederation (AFC) may call itself the guardian of football in this region but it lacks the will to clean up its house in Bukit Jalil. 
This was despite promises of reforms which includes transparency, accountability and good governance by president Sheikh Salman Ebrahim Al Khalifa when he took office in 2013.
AFC, run by officials in suits, is good in producing brief statements. But that too has somewhat regressed as they would only speak when asked repeatedly to do so. 
It has been almost six months since Malay Mail exposed the ''tamper or hide'' video involving two key AFC personnel. The revelation was published on April 25. It highlighted a video showing AFC financial director Bryan Kuan Wee Hong claiming that former AFC general-secretary Datuk Alex Soosay telling him, “protect me”, before asking, “can you tamper or hide documents whi…

HARESH SAYS: Wanting the best - is that too much to ask?

As published in Malay Mail today 


HARESH SAYS
By Haresh Deol

THEY spoke at great lengths with one goal in mind — to resuscitate Malaysian football.

Somewhat poetically, the “boys” of St John’s Institution, class of 1975 to be exact, had gathered in an office at Wisma Paradise in Jalan Ampang that had a nice view of their alma mater. It was there, during their younger days, that they played football in the rain while idolising the likes of the late Datuk Mokhtar Dahari, Datuk Santokh Singh and Datuk Soh Chin Aun.

About two weeks ago, they met to discuss the current state of Malaysian football. This was fresh after Malaysia suffered a humiliating 10-0 beating to United Arab Emirates on Sept 4 — our worst result at an international match to date.

But it was not just another session of coffee shop talk. They had a plan.

“We plan to take over a club or state team and run it. Don’t worry, we will be able to find the resources and teach the others a thing or two about professionalism and de…

HARESH SAYS: As long as you are ‘able’...

As published in Malay Mail today


HARESH SAYS By Haresh Deol
SO should we just chain ourselves to trees, I asked environmentalist Puan Sri Shariffa Sabrina Syed Akil at the sidelines of the recent KL Fashion Week.
The Pertubuhan Pelindung Khazanah Alam Sekitar (Peka) president broke into a smile while her associates, who were seated  on the same table, laughed.
In a classy blue dress, accompanied by a tiara on her head, Sabrina looked like an Arabian princess from a Walt Disney movie as we discussed something close to our hearts —Mother Nature.
She apologised for being “overly” dressed, stressing it was her way of showing support to the fashion show. But she was certainly not sorry over her sharp criticism of the authorities in protecting the environment.
There are those who have rubbished Sabrina’s work, and those who speak ill about the work of Peka and similar NGOs. Environmental activists are often seen as those with nothing better to do expect to go against any form o…

Yellow, black, red and white colour of democracy

As published in Malay Mail today


 By Jahaberdeen Mohamed Yunoos

TRULY,  Malaysia is witnessing the many colours of democratic action by groups of citizen. First, we had the Bersih 4 rally symbolised by the yellow colour. Bersih 4 had reforms of the electoral process as its main objective and rally cry.

While I was not supportive of the choice of date for Bersih 4 — one day before Merdeka Day — the generally peaceful nature of the assembly was commendable. In fact, the police were also to be praised for their role in ensuring a peaceful assembly.

It was unfortunate though that there were some quarters who had taken part in Bersih 4 chanting anti-government slogans. I thought this may actually distract the rally from Bersih’s avowed aim of electoral reforms. This may also alienate the ones that support the government and also want electoral reforms.

In many of the discussions that followed, it was made an issue that the participants were mostly Chinese and very few Malays.

I can understand th…

Film festival went on as planned, says Finas

As published in Malay Mail today
By Lavinia Louis lavinia@mmail.com.my
KUALA LUMPUR — The National Film Development Corporation (Finas) denied there was any form of “interference from a VIP” during the 27th Malaysian Film Festival held last Saturday. Its director-general Datuk Kamil Othman instead said the programme went on as per the original plan. Finas was the organiser of the awards event.
Kamil said he had, after going through the line-up of performances on Friday night, wanted Najwa Mahiaddin to perform second-last, followed by Amy Search to show the film industry had evolved to a brighter future. 
“It was a last-minute decision because I only got to see the sequence of performances on the eve. Then I saw the full-dress rehearsal and I thought Najwa’s performance had a gothic feel, so I wanted her performance to be second-last followed by Amy Search ... where the film industry is moving from darkness to a brighter side,” he said.
“However, I was informed by the prod…

HARESH SAYS: Hold your head up, Najwa

As published in Malay Mail today

HARESH SAYS By Haresh Deol
SHE put on a mesmerising performance that awed the audience. Her rendition of the classic hit Seri Mersing was unorthodox compared to versions by Saloma, Datuk Sharifah Aini and Datuk Siti Nurhaliza.
But one cannot imagine the agony and despair Najwa Mahiaddin went through at the 27th Malaysian Film Festival, which was organised by National Film Development Corporation (Finas) last Saturday.
And one would not fault her if she had shed a tear or two when she was not allowed to perform at the eleventh hour. In fact, the term eleventh hour is an understatement for the host, Nabil Ahmad, was just about to invite her on stage when he received orders to cut for a commercial break.
Nabil, a comedian, could not hide his expression as he was confused by the situation. After the commercial break, Najwa was nowhere to be seen.
Backstage, her representatives had a tough time understanding why she could not perform despite Fi…

OPINION: True reforms begin with ourselves

As published in Malay Mail today
By Jahaberdeen Mohamed Yunoos
Any intention to want reforms and improvements in society is good and encouraging.  The fact is there have been people selflessly and unknown to many of us who have been struggling all their lives to bring about various kinds of reforms in our society. Sometimes they work together and often times, they work alone with like-minded friends.  Without the slightest doubt, there is a need for improvement in many parts of our lives, the most obvious being that we have still failed to co-exist peacefully and compassionately with each other after so many thousands of years of being on earth. We have so many religions and yet it is difficult to say how many of us have attained God consciousness as opposed to religious consciousness. This  is a valid question for it is mind-boggling how anyone who wants the mercy of the Creator will fail to share that mercy with others. So, yes, there is a need for internal reform. A quest to find o…

Najwa mesmerised despite ‘hiccup’

As published in Malay Mail today



By Haresh Deol
haresh@mmail.com.my

KUALA LUMPUR — It was a night of mixed emotions for many at the 27th Malaysian Film Festival on Saturday.

It was also a night that almost courted controversy after Najwa Mahiaddin, daughter of former deputy prime minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin, had her show ‘cancelled’ only to be later reintroduced as the final act of the night, aired live on television.

Najwa, had after the show, tweeted: “Thank you for all your support. Terima kasih kpd pihak Finas krn akhirnya membenarkan saya membuat persembahan. #FFM27”.

The “confusion” left insiders fuming. They labelled it “unnecessary interference by outsiders” as Najwa’s rendition of classic hit Seri Mersing was pre-approved by organiser National Film Development Corporation Malaysia (Finas).

“Host Nabil (Ahmad) had almost introduced Najwa on stage to perform in the second segment but the show suddenly went into a commercial break and Najwa didn’t perform after the break. …

Award-winning Liew inspired more than ever

As published in Malay Mail today


By Haresh Deol
haresh@mmail.com.my

KUALA LUMPUR — Most would have spent the night partying hard, but Liew Seng Tat just wanted to make another movie.

Liew was named best director at the 27th Malaysian Film Festival at Kuala Lumpur Convention Centre on Saturday night.

His movie, Lelaki Harapan Dunia, bagged the main awards of the night — Best Film and Best Original Story while the film’s young star Rykarl Iskandar was named Best Child Actor.
“I celebrated but not hard enough to get a hangover,” Liew said in jest.

“I’m inspired. Winning four awards, including best director, got me thinking of my next project. It’s not about trying to make a statement or worry about winning awards but it’s just going back to the basics of making good movies and I just want to do that.”

He admitted he was disturbed by allegations made by certain quarters, including industry players, that the movie insulted Malays and Islam after it hit cinemas on Nov 27 last year.

The movi…

Ong's suicidal mission

As published in Malay Mail today



By Haresh Deol
haresh@mmail.com.my

PETALING JAYA — Datuk Ong Kim Swee has been named interim national coach after Dollah Salleh called it quits following a humiliating 10-0 bashing by United Arab Emirates (UAE) in Abu Dhabi.

FA of Malaysia (FAM) general secretary Datuk Hamidin Amin, who is also the national team manager, broke the news to Ong after a meeting with FAM president Tengku Abdullah Shah yesterday.

The former international has barely three days with the players before Harimau Malaya host Saudi Arabia at the Shah Alam Stadium on Tuesday.

“They (players) are down. No words can describe how they feel. We could be looking at some of them giving up, or being replaced if they are not mentally strong,” said a source within the national coaching set-up.

“Ong met the players at a hotel in Petaling Jaya yesterday to motivate them. It’s not easy for him too, as this was thrown upon him without warning.”

Another insider said Ong, the Under-23 H…

BEING FRANK: Collective suicide spells death of football

As published in Malay Mail today


Being Frank 
By Frankie D'Cruz

THE Malaysia shirt should be a superhero costume, turning people into extraordinary sportsmen. 

Instead, we have a bunch of chronic underachievers who malfunction the moment a football match starts.


Yet again, the Malaysian football team has reneged on their duty to the country but then, if the serial losers, their coach Dollah Salleh and the FA of Malaysia think about it, perhaps they will see that they betrayed no one more than themselves.


It is collective suicide. In one corner, we have the FAM that has created a farce; its froth is just a stink bomb that keeps on exploding.


In the other corner, are our national footballers who have never failed to push back the frontiers of the unacceptable. 


In the middle is clown Dollah, a former top striker-turned-worst coach ever.


These spoilt lot were left free to do what they liked by their entire hierarchy. 


They had no limit, no sense of duty. And it might just remain that way. 


To h…

HARESH SAYS: Chinese rally? Oh, please!

As published in Malay Mail today



Haresh Says
By Haresh Deol

THE numbers ranged between 25,000 and 500,000. Some stressed the bulk who attended Bersih 4 over the weekend were Chinese.
But two men who participated in the gathering were unperturbed with such talk.  “Would it make a difference if I am Justin Lee, Justin Nathan or Justin Mohammed? Whether it is 25,000 or 500,000 people, Malaysians of all walks of life participated and that counts the most,” said Justin, who insisted his last name was immaterial. Justin joined many others who were eager to be heard over the weekend. He said those who attended the rally, deemed illegal by the authorities, had various grouses but were united in their objective — to demand a cleaner and transparent Malaysia. “You can’t place a number. There were many others who could not make it for the rally but were with us in spirit. “I was at Dataran Maybank and there seemed to be more Chinese. My friends who were at Sogo said there were more Malays there. But who…