Sports associations are often criticized for appointing unqualified persons to key administrative positions. The Sports Ministry itself had mooted the idea of limiting the number of years a key office bearer should serve in the position.
Associations are constantly condemned for their failure to be more professional and to avoid favouritism in the running of an association.
These are measures needed not only for the smooth running of the sports associations but also to see proper development of the sport.
But, the preachers do not always practice what they expect others to do.
Take the recent appointment of Board Members of the National Sports Council of Malaysia (NSC) for instance. Conspicuously missing from the list of Board members for the new term ending April 2022 are any representative from the Paralympic Council of Malaysia (PCM).
The PCM like the Olympic Council of Malaysia (OCM) are two key arms of Malaysian sports. The PCM are the umbrella body for disabled sports in Malaysia and are responsible for the participation of Malaysian athletes in all multi-sports events including the Paralympics, Asian Para Games and the Asean Para Games.
In the previous MSN Board, the PCM was represented by its then deputy president John Ng Keng Chuan. John Ng has been reappointed to the board, but he certainly cannot be representing the PCM any longer.
The OCM , justifiably is represented by its president Dato Sri Mohamad Norza Zakaria in the Board. Datuk Seri Megat D Shahriman Zaharudin, the president of the PCM or his deputy should have been accorded the same respect and recognition.
While it is the discretion of the Sports Minister, who is also the chairman of the Board, to appoint his members, surely he has to also consider basic common sense.
While John Ng may be a capable and essential in the eyes of the Minister, his appointment must not come at the expense of the current official representative of the PCM. In reality, John Ng’s appointment in the Board can only be seen as an individual representation and not as a PCM representative.
PCM top officials when contacted, preferred to deal the matter privately and did not want to make any official statement.
John Ng, together with the current Minister of Science, Technology, and Innovation YB Khairy Jamaluddin and three others were embroiled in a controversy during the last elections of PCM. They had submitted their nomination forms a day late from the prescribed deadline. The General Meeting of the PCM was deferred with the controversy dragging on until finally their late nominations were finally rejected by the Sports Commissioner’s Office.
It is no secret that the Director General of the NSC, Datuk Ahmad Shapawi Ismail was embroiled in the controversy after being accused of siding with the five. He had vehemently denied the accusation and the matter was buried following the election of the new office bearers.
That John Ng is now reappointed to the position in lieu of an official representative from the PCM certainly forces one to re-look the entire issue. After all, the Minister must be taking some cue and recommendation from the NSC in appointing the new Board members.
This entire episode, is just a reflection of our own current national political scenario where Members of Parliament from the ruling party are being appointed to GLC positions, immaterial of their qualifications.
With the Tokyo Paralympics in the horizon and the need to get the correct input from the correct authority, it is pertinent that the Minister take a deeper look into the issue.
The NSC Board also in the past also had either the Director General or the Deputy Chief Secretary of the Ministry of Education as a Board member. This time, however, the Education Ministry is represented by a junior officer in Zainal Abas.
If the Ministry of the Sports itself fails to be transparent and justified in its own affairs, how are we to expect national sports associations to do the same?
Whether the Minister decides to appoint someone from the PCM to the NSC Board or not, no longer matters. The decision not to, has already given sports association a free pass to make appointments no longer based on equity or justification.
We already have associations appointing people with no financial background as Treasurers, with no technical expertise as Technical Chairman, with no communication expertise as Media and Communication Chairman, with no marketing experience as Marketing and Sponsorship Chairman and so on.
Not many can dispute that sports association heads prefer to have yes men and judging from this, they would just continue to strive for the same in the future.
The Sports Minister Datuk Seri Reezal Merican Naina Merican needs to be more proactive and not just rely on advice, in this case bad advice, in making decisions for the future and betterment sports in Malaysia at all levels.