Skip to main content

What went wrong with KL SEA Games?

A magical sight was seen at the National Stadium in Bukit Jalil yesterday as KL2017 ended with Malaysia finishing as overall champions. - Bernama
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.

A majestic shot of Sultan Mizan Zainal Abidin by Ghazali Kori (Harian Metro).
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.

A bus ferrying karate officials apparently "got lost" and the event had to be delayed. Members of the press were surprised to see the lack of security at the International Broadcasting Centre.

The Bangkok Post, in its rather fair editorial, took a swipe at not only the organisers but also took the Thai officials to task.

The article also indirectly suggests for the need to end the inclusion of sports that only favour the host nation - something the SEA Games Federation will need to deliberate in a bid to move forward.

Back to KL2017. If I were to be the Youth and Sports Minister, I would like to know:

1. Why were the accreditation cards given out late?
- a media liaison officer based at a venue only obtained the accreditation card days before the event started. Volunteers and members of the SEA Games Arbitration Committee also got their cards just days before competition started.
- those who received accreditation cards had posted pictures of it on social media. If the passes were given out earlier, such postings would have created further hype for the Games.

2. Why results were not disseminated immediately?
- results for some events (archery, gymnastics) were given out and posted online 12 hours later.
- in 2001 (where most offices were using dial-ups) and the 2007 editions - two Games which I covered - there were no mobile phone applications or fancy websites but results were available almost instantaneously.

3. Why weren't television graphics provided to the broadcasters?
- perhaps the appointed vendor can answer this question.

4. Why wasn't the official souvenir books, given out to VIPs during opening ceremony, vetted - resulting the embarrassing Indonesian flag boo-boo?
- it takes more than one pair of eyes to check details. I've worked in newsrooms, I know.
Athletes from Indonesia, and not Poland, compete in the SEA Games.
5. Why was there a change of venue in the last minute? (eg. Pencak Silat) Why was the squash court "too slippery"?
- didn't the organisers anticipate a large crowd? Rather disrespectful to say the sport doesn't have a large following only to realise otherwise later.
- didn't anyone check the all-glass court at the National Squash Centre prior the Games? 

6. Why weren't technical and media guides made available? Also, why weren't much thought put into areas where members of the Press interview athletes?
- it is a norm at every games to hand out technical details of various sports which come in handy especially when 'controversial calls' are made.
- Youth and Sports Minister Khairy Jamaluddin visited the National Aquatics Centre and saw first hand how members of the press were unable to interview athletes and ensured the space to interview athletes be made bigger. Just don't understand why the minister was forced to step in when this could have been easily sorted out by his underlings.

My tweet on Aug 19.
7. Is it true efforts were made to ensure national cyclist Azizulhasni Awang win the 111th gold medal when it should have been his compatriot Fatehah Mustapa?
- perhaps those at the venue on that day can shed some light.

8. Did the organising committee speak to Datuk Wira Mazlan Ahmad — former National Sports Council director general who engineered the 1989, 2001 SEA Games in Kuala Lumpur and the 1998 Commonwealth Games?

Mazlan used to regularly brief former Prime Minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad of the progress of the construction of venues, issues faced by the organising committee and preparation of athletes ahead of the 1998 Commonwealth Games.
9. It seems the Olympic Council of Malaysia was also sidelined from KL2017. If so, why - as they have the likes of Datuk Sieh Kok Chi who could have provided his valuable insights in the hosting of multi-sports event.

10. The tickets for the men's football final between Malaysia and Thailand was not sold online angering fans who lived outside the Klang Valley. Khairy tweeted "the online payment gateway provider could not guarantee a stable process because of volume." 
- the provider did not anticipate that Malaysia will enter the final? They didn't expect a big crowd at the stadium regardless who played in the final? Gentle reminder, it's 2017.

Major sporting events, including the Olympics and World Cup, face hiccups but the issues seen throughout KL2017 were simply unacceptable.

A post-mortem must be conducted to find out how and why we got the basics wrong throughout KL2017.

As I repeatedly said throughout my 12 days on Astro Arena: "Mereka yang bertanggungjawab, sila lah JAWAB."

One thing this SEA Games has taught us:

We have many talents who could have and were willing to advise and assist the organising committee to make this SEA Games the best ever. But these talented Malaysians were ignored by incompetent officials. And this resulted the nation to suffer a bruised image.

By the way, Monday (Sept 4) is a public holiday.

Selamat Hari Merdeka!


  1. 1. The main agenda for the post-mortem has already been prepared by Haresh. 2. We must remember that SEA GAMES KL 2017 is really a goodwill games although we can be proud of the achievements of our participants. 3. Let's truly contribute to future organising committees by working on a most comprehensive "organising experience". Then we would complete the "goodwill mission". 4. Finally, thanks to Haresh to compiling the snafus. The organisers should view this in the proper perspective. He wasn't nitpicking. YM Lee

  2. 1. The main agenda for the post-mortem has already been prepared by Haresh. 2. We must remember that SEA GAMES KL 2017 is really a goodwill games although we can be proud of the achievements of our participants. 3. Let's truly contribute to future organising committees by working on a most comprehensive "organising experience". Then we would complete the "goodwill mission". 4. Finally, thanks to Haresh to compiling the snafus. The organisers should view this in the proper perspective. He wasn't nitpicking. YM Lee

  3. Even Astro Arena failed with their programming? They have multiple channels but didn't show important events, especially those involving Team Malaysia. Do they really need to split the screen between football match and the 100 metres sprint final? Hosts syok sendiri kot?

  4. Well done all Malaysian athletes for your high class performance.

  5. They called it The National Ice Skating Staduim at the abandoned Empire Dsara Shopping Mall, it was excatly like Sunway Pyramid Ice Skating Ring.... people were 3-4 layers and you cant even see a thing! Why couldnt they put up temporary flexible bleachers to accommodate the spectators? Shameful!

  6. Nice post. Good lessons for future hosts

  7. It is so normal these days it is the Malaysians participants and their personal coaches and the rakyat rise to the occasion but not the leaders and the organisers who want to take the opportunity to glorify themselves but proven instead so incompetent tak boleh harap to stand out with impeccable conscience and tasks

  8. It is all a money making scheme to finance the next election. Cash cow.

  9. Err...bro, this is not a congratulation post. So save your sorry ass and ass kissing somewhere else. This is a reality check

  10. please remember the "firefighters" (including the army of volunteers) who were brought in by just months before the games to ensure that we had a "good show". ticketing, for example, didn't begin seeing a semblance of management until 2 month before opening - this is a process which should have taken at least 18 months on an accelerated timeline. these gallant firefighters ensured a cosmetic cover-up of the cancer of apathy and tidak-apaness, a disease that seems to be growing. the question should be asked - have we learnt anything from this event that can be used effectively to organise another event without these firefighters? if not, then the rot will continue...

  11. International News and Photo Agencies got no POOL Vests, namely the Reuters, AP, Getty Images,AFP, EPA, etc...Some Venues the background of the actions are terrible, e.g. Sepak Takraw, Diving,Kung Fu, hehehe...

    1. Kung Fu I meant is Wu Shu.

    2. Hope they realize the importance of International Agencies role play and make amends come this Asean Para Games on 17/9/17 to 23/9/17.

  12. Please learn how to handle the big crowd for your public transportation. It was the bottleneck problem occured at LRT Bukit Jalil after the closing ceremony. Although LRT service was extended up to 2am, but did they consider about those who tried to catch up the Komuter? Many of us stranded at the station due to poor management on this part.

    1. Only closing ceremony extension to 2 am and normal days where they are games days Computer stopped at 11:20pm they should be till 1:00 am at least. You think they care ???

  13. 145 golds and public holiday...apa lagi u mau??? PH supporters??? Sports to unite not divide. Any answers to my Qs...i afraid no. KUDOS TO PM and KJ and BN.

    1. Obviously you don't read or analyse just suck up. Kudos to your ball carrying.

  14. What is the objective of this article? Get a life... let the organiser to do their post-moterm. sigh.

    1. Says the clueless one. Get a brain.

    2. They must learn how China hosts the OLYMPICs and learn. After all you now sell your Country to China now...

  15. It is really a syiok sendiri games.

  16. Complain,complain, complain... Give credit where it is due lah! Great job by our team Malaysia, their coaches, supporters and the our nation's leaders.

    1. Yes, good job only for the Athletes and Association, we complaint on the Organization that is MASOC. Poor organization.

    2. MASOC must learn to harness and use the availabe experts like OCM, Datuk Mazlan etc in a big scale multisports events like SEA Games & ASEAN Para Games. Consult them, listen to their advices and not doing your own things.

  17. Good stuff Haresh. For your report please update us on the gold medal percentage won vs number of events for all sport based and breakdown of achievement based on type of sport for example combat sports, track events and etc

  18. Money making exercise. The pathetic, low quality opening ceremony costume costs RM1,200 per head. Many ended up with wrong fitting despite the heavy drama of taking measurements. In the end, delivery was in the sizes S,M,L & XL. What a joke! Vendor closed allocated temporary room in the hotel & disappeared immediately after the Mlaysian contingent left for the opening ceremony. Big bucks to be shared all round.

  19. Corruption is the key word here...

  20. Also the transportation to most venues are none existence, one had to take Grab or Uber. No Buses connection.

  21. The fireworks are cheap scate, even Thean Hou Temple ones on CNY is better.

  22. Not only Indonesian flag. The stadium layout on the closing ceremony ticket was wrongly printed. On the layout it was illustrated that entrance D located near to LRT station however the actual location was in front KSN.

  23. Some of us who were on duty in IBC, never got our tags even until today

  24. Some of us who were on duty in IBC, never got our tags even until today


Post a Comment

Popular posts from this blog

Football journo's accreditation card retracted for being 'overly critical'

Four Four Two journalist Vijhay Vick's accreditation card to cover the M-League has been "retracted" by Football Malaysia LLP last night.

The letter, signed by FMLLP chief executive officer Kevin Ramalingam, stated:
"We are open to criticism by the public, however, it has been brought to FMLLP's attention that you have been overly critical of the Malaysian League and have made misleading statements and or shared misleading statements made by third parties. This is very damaging to the image of the League and the brand that we are trying to build."
It remains unclear which articles written by Vijhay are said to be "overly critical" of the Malaysian League.
Vijhay, in responding to the letter he received last night, said: 
"I was shocked (to receive the letter). I would like to know which articles of mine that are overly critical of the league."
It is best if FMLLP explained its definition of being "overly critical". 
While the bo…

Poser over national table tennis association 'RM8 million loans' to private companies

UPDATE (May 20, 2018; 3.15pm):Lawyer representing Table Tennis Association of Malaysia admitted manner in which loans amounting to RM8 million given out by association to two developers was "not right" and that his client is taking steps to terminate the contracts. He said this after attending an exco meeting at the association's office in Bukit Jalil this morning.

The Table Tennis Association of Malaysia (TTAM) has been smashed with allegations of giving out RM8 million worth of "loans" to two developers, raising eyebrows and irking at least two of its affiliates.

A police report has also been lodged over the matter.

According to a letter by the Kuala Lumpur Table Tennis Association (KLTTA), written on May 3:

i. TTAM's Financial Statement (ended March 31, 2018) presented during the 6th Exco Meeting on April 21, 2018 saw a total sum of RM8 million loans granted to two private companies - Ekal Jaya Sdn Bhd and Iktimewah Sdn Bhd (RM4 million …

So what's next for FAM?

UPDATE (March 25, 3.15pm): Tunku Ismail Ibrahim resigns as FA of Malaysia president.
UPDATE (March 17, 9.52am): As of late last night, it's status quo at Wisma FAM.
Tunku Ismail Ibrahim remains as president as "no resignation letter was submitted".
Insiders say Tunku Ismail was "very disturbed and feels unappreciated following critical comments, especially on social media, about the national team's FIFA ranking despite the many other achievements (as listed in the original post below) throughout his close to one year stint in office".
UPDATE (March 16, 8.25am): FA of Malaysia general-secretary Datuk Hamidin Amin said: 
"Sudah tentu jika kita membiarkan Tunku Ismail meletak jawatan, kita juga akan kehilangan penaja dan saya sendiri tidak dapat membayangkan siapa yang layak untuk menggantikan tempat baginda sebagai Presiden FAM."
Read his full statement here.


UPDATE (March 16, 10.19am): Another FAM official makes a (very short) statement. Below…