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Showing posts from August, 2021

Melvin Chia: The 'outsider' who could surprise many in OCM sec-gen race

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Why on earth would Melvin Chia stand as the Olympic Council of Malaysia (OCM) secretary-general? "Why not?" replied a national sports association president. And soon I learnt that the Malaysia Snooker and Billiards Federation president seems to have garnered quite a fan base among the NSAs. I'm aware of talks that Chia was supposedly "planted" to disrupt plans by certain quarters to boot incumbent Datuk Nazifuddin Najib out. Apparently that's the case with Megat Fairuz Khairuddin - the little known Malaysian Sailing Association secretary-general who is also in the race for the secretary-general post. The fourth contender is Datuk Seri Azim Zabidi. The four-way race for a post that was made glamorous by the likes of former secretary-generals Datuk Sieh Kok Chi and Datuk Low Beng Choo - thanks to their personalities - is something we could see at the next general election. Umno, Parti Pribumi Bersatu Malaysia, PKR and PAS gunning for the same demographic of vo

Youth & Sports Minister's first day in office: "Sorry for 'kurang cerdik' statement, lesson learnt"

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It was the first press conference by the newly minted Youth and Sports Minister Datuk Seri Ahmad Faizal Azumu and his deputy Datuk Seri Ti Lian Ker - but only for selected media.  That itself was a misstep. Ahmad Faizal spoke about ensuring life after sports for athletes and thanked his predecessors for their past work which resulted in some wins today.  He also knows about the efforts to open up the sports industry by former minister Datuk Seri Reezal Merican Naina Merican but quickly added that it needs the "go ahead or greenlight" from the National Security Council. With Khairy Jamaluddin being the Health Minister, Ahamd Faizal truly believes the sports lover would eventually allow the industry to operate. But his first press conference also recorded an apology. In short, he said sorry for the " kurang cerdik " remark he made regarding Perak FC's predicament in the domestic league. Ahmad Faizal's statement, via a video recorded that had made its rounds, e

Lesson No. 1 for Ahmad Faizal Azumu - don't expect sports associations to kowtow to you just because you are a minister

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Even before the Cabinet ministers have reported for duty, Youth and Sports Minister Datuk Seri Ahmad Faizal Azumu has already learnt a valuable lesson. Being the new kid on the block, one may want to believe that it was an innocent remark by the former Perak Menteri Besar regarding Perak FC in the domestic football league. Ahmad Faizal, had allegedly said on a video : "KBS (Kementerian Belia dan Sukan) tak ada kuasa nak buat apa-apa, tapi itu terpulang kepada MFL, tapi kita kawan baik dengan MFL. Saya dengan CEO baru MFL Stuart (Ramalingam) ini pun kawan baik, dengan Datuk Hamidin (Presiden Persatuan Bolasepak Malaysia) pun saya boleh cakapkan. "Baru-baru ini kita ada bincang Datuk Hamidin dan Stuart ada pandangan nak naikkan kepada 16 pasukan sebab ini selari dengan apa yang Persekutuan Bolasepak Antarabangsa (FIFA) tetapkan. Selama ini kita tak ikut FIFA dan mungkin dia orang terpaksa buat begitu. "Kalau itu berlaku, selamatlah negeri Perak. Kalau tak berlaku, kita sa

Thank you for your contributions, Tun Ahmad Sarji. You will be missed

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Covid-19 claims a life, yet again - and this time it's Tun Ahmad Sarji Abdul Hamid. He was 82. Rosmanizam Abdullah, who goes with the byline TL Ang, paid tribute to Ahmad Sarji's good work in his article published in BebasNews today . The former chief secretary to the government was a huge name in the corporate world, occupying key roles in Permodalan Nasional Berhad, Sime Darby Bhd and Northport Corporation. And he made a similar impact in the sports world - including lawn bowls, golf and cricket. Even former youth and sports minister Datuk Seri Ahmad Shabery Cheek honoured his "mentor, teacher and friend". Read the full report in Astro Awani . Rest well, sir. You will be missed.

Let's set KPI for new OCM office bearers, see who can bring money, ideas to the table

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Tan Sri Norza Zakaria - Image by Haresh Deol Tan Sri Norza Zakaria received an early birthday gift. Yesterday, he retained the Olympic Council of Malaysia (OCM) president's post - unopposed. Norza, who turns 55 tomorrow (Aug 29), will be joined by another familiar face in the Malaysian sports scene - Datuk Hamidin Amin.  Hamidin, who is FA of Malaysia president, won the deputy president's post unopposed. All eyes will now be on the secretary-general when the OCM elections is held on Sept 4.  The four individuals eyeing the post are Datuk Nazifuddin Najib, Datuk Seri Azim Zabidi, Melvin Chia and Megat Fairuz Khairuddin. I was shown a poster of one of the candidate at Wisma OCM yesterday. It looked like a poster of a desperate politician hungry for votes.  I asked Norza who among the four would be more suited for his team. I knew he wouldn't give me a straight answer as surely he did not want to be seen as influencing a decision or favouring any party. In summary, he said: &q

Ahmad Faizal Azumu new Youth and Sports Minister, Ti Lian Ker his deputy

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  When Datuk Seri Reezal Merican Naina Merican was at Wisma KBS, I kept wondering if he ever had a deputy. This time around, I'll be paying specific attention to newly named Youth and Sports deputy minister Datuk Seri Ti Lian Ker.  It's rather interesting that Ti, an MCA strongman and a familiar face in Raub, will be helming the portfolio. He was previously the National Unity deputy minister. It is a known fact that Ti enjoys close ties with the current Yang di-Pertuan Agong - who is a big sports fan. So I'm sure he would pay much attention on sports - which will be good news for sports enthusiasts and industry players. Ti would also realise that sports is the best unifying agent to mend and heal a nation and its people that is already tired with the on-going pandemic. His previous working experience in the National Unity Ministry will certainly help. As for the new minister Datuk Seri Ahmad Faizal Azumu - well I've never dealt with him and the only thing we have in com

As OCM wants to play bigger role, time to scrutinise who has done what ahead of Sept 4 election

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A former senior minister once told me: "The politics in Umno is nothing compared to the politics in Malaysian sports." Following the withdrawal of Umno from Perikatan Nasional (PN) which resulted in Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin stepping down, only for an Umno MP to be a new prime minister, the former senior minister and I revisited our conversation. And again he reiterated: ""The politics in Umno is nothing compared to the politics in Malaysian sports." That explains why everyone is being hush-hush about Saifuddin Abu Bakar's appointment as the next FA of Malaysia general-secretary as they want the announcement to be made public by the national body first. Just like in politics, despite signing the dotted lines, anything can happen at the 11th hour. The other interesting event is the upcoming Olympic Council of Malaysia (OCM) election scheduled on Sept 4. Tan Sri Norza Zakaria shouldn't have much problem defending his post as president. He will remind many

Poser over ex-national player turned official alleged to fix badminton match

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Like Chong Wei, Taufik also did not want to reveal the identity of the team official, who was a former national player. Former World No. 1 Datuk Lee Chong Wei was also quoted by the New Straits Times as saying: "I know who the person is, but it's been so long since this took place. I believe we should all move on. "I don't want to name or shame anybody." Read the full article i n NST today.  Also read Berita Harian's ' Chong Wei sumpah tak pernah terbabit atur perlawanan '. Chong Wei believes in moving on. I believe the authorities and badminton bodies - namely the BA of Malaysia and Badminton World Federation should investigate the claims. This is to determine that the concerned individual is no longer active in fixing a match or two and not be allowed to hold any position - even at the grassroots.

From 'seronok tengok kawan2 main bola' to 'saya dengan rendah diri memohon maaf'

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It was a tweet that landed Johor Darul Ta’zim's (JDT) Syafiq Ahmad in "hot soup". It also showed how social media can be a double-edged sword and how freedom of expression is viewed. Let's look at Syafiq's tweet. It has been labelled as cryptic, even sarcastic as he has not been enjoying time on the field. It must be noted there were no personal attacks and no vulgarities spewed.  Here's what JDT's owner posted on social media: I'd generally agree with the response, minus the "bunga api" bit as it creates the presumption of normalising the lighting of "bunga api' at the stands. But that's how I view it. And in return, Syafiq replied: The one thing professional footballers should realise that they have a contract with their clubs and that the relationship is one of employer-employee.  Perhaps there is a slight difference when it comes to other elite athletes who do not have such a relationship with their national sports associatio

Some may miss Reezal Merican, no one will miss his deputy

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In April 2020, I met Datuk Seri Reezal Merican Naina Merican at his office in Wisma KBS. It was during his early days in office, when Perikatan Nasional took over from Pakatan Harapan. And he had this to say: “The sports industry is huge and it’s something we should look at. Also, it is a wealth creator as more youths, athletes and associations will be able to leverage on a thriving industry.” Read Twentytwo13 's ' Sports industry, creating opportunities for youths top on Reezal Merican’s mind ' Unfortunately, Reezal Merican could only do so much. He entered the scene rather abruptly. Had to deal with an unprecedented crisis and no matter what he wanted to do, his hands were pretty much tied by the National Security Council. It's a shame that then decision-makers couldn't see the benefit of sports but seemed fine with the Sabah state election that was held last year, accompanied by the year-end inter-state travel exodus. Industry players are angry, tired and fed-up

Fans back at stadiums in UK, US and hopefully in Malaysia soon

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  This was the scene during the Manchester United v Leeds United match on Saturday. The same sight was seen in the Major Soccer League as fans flock back to the stands in full force. What is scary to me is that there was no physical distancing observed and the supporters were generally without face masks. This despite the UK and US continue to record high number of Covid-19 cases daily. Immune to the coronavirus? Simply don't care? Or is this the respective governments' way of saying: "Hey, the coronavirus is going to be here so we can't be at its mercy forever." What do the Premier League protocols say? According to the BBC : Supporters could face random spot-checks of their Covid-19 status This means proof of full vaccination or a recent negative lateral flow test Supporters must follow a new 'supporter code of conduct' which includes wearing masks indoors, avoiding close contact and following one-way systems. Most clubs don't have mandatory checks,

National sports associations should rightfully run sports but in Malaysia ...

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".... the national sports associations (NSAs) allow others to take charge and then whine about it!" That was in essence the conversation I had with several officials and athletes (past and present) in recent days. There were those who agreed it is time for the Olympic Council of Malaysia (OCM) to run the show .  There were others who say the idea seems ideal on paper but will not work in reality. Also, the office bearers cannot be part of any other national bodies to ensure there is no conflict of interest. Here are some of the other comments: 1. "The concept is simple. NSAs should run their own sports. But in Malaysia it becomes blurred when the NSAs can't stand on their own two feet and rely on others for funds." 2. "Why quick to blame MSN (National Sports Council)? So many office bearers (in NSAs), what do they do?" 3 . "Idea is good but siapa yg nak implement kat OCM? 4. "The main stakeholders are the minister, MSN, OCM, NSAs. Minister

Most who returned from Tokyo Olympics quarantined in hotels

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Most of those who returned from the Tokyo Olympics are based at various quarantine hotels in the Klang Valley - based on my checks thus far. This comes as starting today, travellers who have been fully vaccinated will undergo the mandatory 14-day quarantine at home. It is unclear if all the vendors and volunteers at the Summer Games have all returned from Tokyo as the Summer Games ended over the weekend.  Health authorities have expressed concern about the new Lambda variant. The variant was detected in Tokyo three days before the Olympics officially started. The call for fully vaccinated Malaysians to be home quarantined received mixed responses as critics argued the returning travellers would pose a risk to their family members and possibly the general public. There has not been any Lambda variant detected in the country to date. Health director-general Tan Sri Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah, had on his Facebook page on Aug 8, highlighted the first confirmed case of Lambda variant in Japan.

Will NSC chief now be trolled for using the word 'gagal'?

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  Agak sedih juga pengakhiran buat sukan terjun ini, di mana kita gagal dan kita perlu mengakui bahawa kita gagal. "Kita perlu mengkaji semula kelemahan kita. Niatnya ada, usaha juga ada walaupun menghadapi banyak kekangan dan masalah." This was published by Stadium Astro yesterday . The quote above was by National Sports Council director-general Datuk Ahmad Shapawi Ismail. So will Ahmad Shapawi now be trolled for using the word "gagal" (failure)? Ahmad Shapawi said it as it is. But this Olympics has seen certain quarters arguing that we should use words like "tidak berjaya" instead of "gagal". Certain media organisations have also come under fire for their "less than supportive" headlines. I feel these media organisations should stand firm by recording facts as it is instead of changing headlines for fear of being trolled.  Here's what legendary athlete Carl Lewis had to say about the US team in the men's relay:   The USA team

After Umno 'bombshell', Reezal Merican in Tokyo as minister or fan?

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Datuk Seri Reezal Merican Naina Merican has been supporting the national athletes in Tokyo since late last month. He even celebrated his 49th birthday on July 29 in the land of the rising sun, away from his loved ones. It's not exactly a "relaxed" Olympics, given the various restrictions imposed upon all those competing and attending the Summer Games. Following Umno's "bombshell" this evening, all eyes will be on the Yang di-Pertuan Agong’s pre-Cabinet meeting with Muhyiddin tomorrow morning, as reported by news website Twentytwo13 . The Umno Supreme Council have made a decision. Reezal Merican would know of the discussion and the decision since he is a Supreme Council member. His fellow party member and Cabinet colleague Energy and Natural Resources Minister Datuk Seri Shamsul Anuar Nasarah was the first to tender his resignation. Many are keen to see which other Umno MP will quit next.  Where will this latest saga leave Reezal Merican? Will he wait for the

MSBF elects office bearers for new term. 'Banyaknya vice president'

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  Melvin Chia will lead the Malaysian Snooker and Billiards Federation (MSBF) for another term. Congratulations to him. Right after I received this list, I posted it on Twitter. And I read this tweet: Banyaknya vice president https://t.co/DyWR3HBkhz — Abazah­čĆ┤ (@notpong4321) August 1, 2021 Why so many vice presidents? Do they help raise funds? Do they help unearth new talents? Or are they just there in a bid to ensure every state has a representative in the national body?  I wish Melvin and his team all the best. It's not easy running MSBF especially during the Covid-19 pandemic. The strict lockdowns have shut pubs, bars and even snooker centres. These are the "training grounds" for budding athletes. I wonder if these pubs, bars, eateries and snooker centres will eventually open. Many operators of such businesses have waved the white flags. What this will mean is that there will be fewer places to play snooker, billiards and pool. It's not like the sport enjoys a whol

'Don't be obsessed with hockey and football. Concentrate on diving, cycling, archery'

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I still keep in touch with several former sportswriters, including Randhir Singh. Randhir, had over the weekend, sent me a series of messages. I've obtained his consent to publish them: "Actually we should thank the late Datuk Ho Koh Chye (pic above: former hockey player, coach and administrator). It was he who proposed, during a seminar in the 90s, that Malaysia should concentrate on sports like diving, cycling, archery, shooting, rhythmic gymnastics if we hope to win medals in international Games like the Asian Games, Commonwealth Games and Olympics. He argued passionately that Malaysia should not be obsessed with team sports like hockey and football as they only offer one medal and their preparations are costly ... sending teams on world tours and after investing millions (in Ringgit) they don’t even make it to the Games or get knocked out in the first round. Archery, diving, weightlifting, cycling offer more medals and have different categories. Based on our physic we stan