'Reveal Podium Programme facts and figures'

Datuk Sieh Kok Chi, the former Olympic Council of Malaysia (OCM) secretary, has written the second part of his mid-term review of the Podium Programme.

For the uninitiated, Kok Chi - a former engineer with the Irrigation and Drainage Department of Malaysia and represented the country in water polo - has served Malaysian sports for decades, mainly through OCM.

Here are his views, as emailed to Foul! minutes ago:

Mid term review of the Podium Programme - Part II

After publishing my review of the Podium Programme, I received many views, comments and requests for clarifications, which I feel I should respond. The main questions asked were as follows:

  1. What was the actual budget and how much had been spent and on what?
  2. Why was Podium Program staff paid higher salaries than other the National Sports Institute (NSI) and National Sports Council (NSC) staff?
  3. With regards to the workshop on the Podium Programme scheduled Sept 13 and 14 2018, is it fair for NSI or NSC to be reviewing themselves?
  4. Is there any competition or duplication of duties and responsibilities between NSI, NSC and the Podium Programme?
  5. How much say and contributions do the national sports associations (NSAs) have over the programmes of their athletes selected into the Podium Programme?
  6. Since the Podium Programme is being funded by tax payers' money, why are the facts and figures of the programme not made known to the public as it has great public interests and concerns?

With regards to the first question, Haresh Deol has asked the following (as per the article 'How much was really spent on the podium programme?'):

       A.    RM145 million (RM75 million + RM70 million)
       B.     RM170 million
       C.     RM67 million
       D.    RM40 to RM50 million
       E.     None of the above.

I hope the upcoming workshop will clarify this important matter.

On the second question, there have been allegations that the salaries of local Podium Programme staff are more than the salaries of existing NSI and NSC staff. In addition, there were also allegations of a high turn-over of staff, with the services of a few being terminated due to "disciplinary issues". In addition, there are also a few legal suits filed by former staff against the Podium Programme. Are the allegations true?

Organising the workshop is a good idea, if the objective is to inform the general public, the true and correct situation, so as to enhance public support and confidence on the Podium Programme. Much of the criticism on the programme is due to the lack of information and facts being released by NSI to the concerned public, who many have lost faith in the programme. 

To hand-pick participants and have NSI and NSC staff forming a large proportion of the participants will only give the impression that the workshop is a ‘show’ to pull wool over the public’s eyes.

The splitting of NSC into two separate departments, NSC and NSI, by the then Youth and Sports Ministry, Datuk Seri Azalina Othman Said, was a wrong move, and it increased the government’s expenditure without much additional benefits. 

In the light of government’s decision to reduce expenditure, it is timely to turn NSC and NSI back into one again.

How much say and contributions do NSAs have over the programmes of their athletes selected into the Podium Programme?  From what I heard unofficially, it is very little (contributions and say by NSAs). 

In fact, the Podium Programme, being the pay-master, and the Podium Programme contract, apparently takes ownership of the athletes from the NSAs. 

Is this a good thing? Yes and no because it reduces the NSAs to no-bodies. There have been allegations that some NSAs used the Podium Programme to hide facts from their members.

Since the Podium Programme is being funded by public funds, why are the facts and figures of the programme not made known to the public as it has great public interests and concerns? 

I hope the participants of the workshop should decide whether the Podium Programme should be more transparent or more wrapped up under ‘OSA”. This is important, because there must always be a check and balance. 

As the saying goes, "power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely".


Editor's note: The series of articles published in Foul! are to seek clarification over questions that must and should have been raised by the stakeholders. 

Other programmes that have been initiated recently will also be highlighted in days to come, for the betterment of Malaysian sports.


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