Less than six months after hiring a new Chief Operating Officer (COO), the Olympic Council of Malaysia (OCM) is on a new drive to hire more full-time staff. Former OCM secretary Datuk Sieh Kok Chi, who had questioned the need to hire the COO previously, is equally bemused with latest recruitment drive.
“What is the need to for the OCM to hire more staff when the COO should have implemented a better system for a higher quality productive work,” said Kok Chi.
Despite widespread criticism, the OCM had hired former Badminton Association of Malaysia (BAM) general manager Michelle Chai as its COO late last year. The decision was seen as an exit plan for Michelle from the BAM following the appointment of Datuk Kenny Goh as the BAM general secretary.
Datuk Norza Zakaria happens to be the president of both the BAM and the OCM.
The OCM latest recruitment drive is for the positions of Media Manager, Multi-Sport Games Manager, Multi-Sport Games Executive, Multimedia Executive and ICT Executive. (click here to apply)
“After employing a COO for an alleged salary plus allowances of around RM300,000 per annum, one would have thought the COO would produce better and higher quality work,” added Kok Chi.
He added that he does not see any reasons for the OCM to spend more money with the new hires, when the same jobs were executed without any problems previously.
“The OCM has been handling its core job of ensuring the participation of Malaysian athletes without any problems for close to 60 years. We were even commended by the IOC for the way the OCM handled multi-sports participation of Malaysian athletes,” said Kok Chi.
He added that existing staff, who were competent in carrying out the tasks have been reassigned to other duties and those not qualified have been assigned for the same for unknown reasons.
“The existing staff are competent enough, but lately the administration has been trying to fit square pegs in round holes. This can be seen with how the office botched up the ticketing for the Malaysian athletes to the Manial SEA Gameslast year,” he said.
Kok Chi pointed out that flight details for Malaysian athletes was badly managed resulting in some tickets to Manila being purchased at as much as RM3,500 per person, when it could have been done at only RM750 with early and proper planning.
Kok Chi pointed out that the OCM seemed to have lost its direction, thinking that it was responsible for individual sports.
“The OCM is responsible for the selection and participation at the multi-sports Games, a role that it now shares with the National Sports Council (NSC). The development and promotion of individual sports are the responsibility of the respective national sports federations,” he said.
It is also pertinent to note that the NSC also assigns its own staff to support OCM during all multi-sport events including the SEA Games, Asian Games, Olympics and the Commonwealth Games.
Kok Chi added that the extra funds needed to pay for the new hires could be avoided if the rightful and experienced staff were allowed to carry out their tasks.
“On top of that, it is also now said that the COO is now proposing that the OCM office to be renovated at a cost of around RM150,000. Every time someone new takes over, they are only interested in making cosmetic changes without any proper plans on how to enhance OCM’s role in sports,” added Kok Chi.
The OCM office was last renovated just four years ago in 2016 during the tenure of Dato Low Beng Choo as the OCM secretary.
The veteran sports administrator also lamented the fact that many office bearers of the OCM were now of the opinion that they were only volunteers and should not be doing any work for the OCM.
“Obviously they are not expected to do day-to-day tasks. But to expect the staff to even write the speeches for them does not augur well. Everyone who stands for an election of a sports association including the OCM is volunteering for the task. If they do not want to do volunteer work, it defeats the purpose,” said Kok Chi.
With the current economic scenario and without any new sponsors, the hiring of more staff would put a strain on OCM’s finance and they may need to start tapping into their reserves.
“Instead of paying exorbitant sums for unnecessary staff, the money can in fact be channeled to some of the athletes from sports like martial arts and snooker. We can help create more champions,” said Kok Chi.