Monday, August 25, 2008


A thought provoking article in Bernama that was missed by many of the main stream media.

The budget for the National Sports Council to prepare the athletes for Doha 2006 was RM18 million as another unit within NSC took the remaining 17 million for non medal winning athletes. The RM18 million was to cater for 130 athletes under the AsiaCom Project, which earmarked athletes who would deliver medals at the 2006 Melbourne Commonwealth Games and Doha Asian Games.

What was the cost of Lee Chong Wei's silver medal? This is a question that ought to be answered by the Ministry of Youth & Sports.

At the same time the Ministry should also reveal how much it spent on the Ministers entourage, some whom did not even have accreditation cards but went merely as tourists for the Beijing Olympics.

Perhaps we can better the amount spent by the Aussies by adding on the free loaders that were in Beijing.

Australian taxpayers forked out almost A$17 million towards each gold medal won by the nation's Olympic team in Beijing.

The country's taxpayers contributed A$16.7 million through direct government grants for each of the 13 gold medals won, but the real figure could be higher, The Age newspaper reported Sunday.

Sport academic James Connor said once funding by state governments and sporting infrastructure costs were taken into account, the figure could exceed A$100 million.

"The real price of a gold medal would be three, four or five times higher, up to A$100 million," Dr Connor, from the Australian Defence Force Academy, is quoted as saying.

In athletics, A$19.3 million has been poured in over four years, and a European training base established.

Acting Australian Institute of Sport chief, Brent Espeland, has confirmed that sports such as cycling and gymnastics, which disappointed in the medal count, will need to fight for funding.

Australian Olympic Committee chief John Coates launched an inquiry to ask how much extra money was needed to win 55 medals at the 2012 London Games and 60 at the 2016 Olympics.

Swimming coach Alan Thompson said Australian sport was "on the verge of a crisis" without a funding injection.

Australia's Sport Minister Kate Ellis launched an inquiry in May into the efficiency of elite sport funding.


I must say that I was impressed with the opinion of Ahmad Khawari of the Berita Harian when summing up the Malaysian Football for the recently concluded season. His thoughts will not doubt upset some in the industry but if improvement of Malaysian Football is what is paramount, then we should thank Ahmad Khawari instead of getting upset with the article ( which appeared in Berita Harian on August 25, 2008)

I reproduce (without permission I must admit) the article for those who may have missed it.

Piala Malaysia bagai hilang keajaiban
Oleh Ahmad Khawari Isa
Saingan kali ini catat penonton terendah pernah disaksikan

HAMPIR separuh ruang kosong di Stadium Nasional, malam kelmarin, mencetus tanda tanya - apakah Piala Malaysia sudah hilang keajaibannya?

Fakta tidak pernah menipu, dan realiti harus diakui Persatuan Bola Sepak Malaysia (FAM) ialah seluruh kancah musim Piala Malaysia kali ini harus diingati sebagai menghasilkan antara jumlah penonton terendah pernah disaksikan.

Tudingan jari tidak boleh dipaling ke arah berbeza, sebaliknya harus menunjuk kepada diri sendiri kerana badan induk itu yang memilih memperjudikan martabat saingan tertua itu tanpa usul periksa.

Bukan rahsia, kemeriahan temasya Sukan Olimpik di Beijing masih terasa. Itu satu faktornya. Tetapi pedulikah FAM? Jika diambil kira tindakan memperjudikan final Piala FA di tengah-tengah kancah Euro 2008 lalu, ia jadi bukti badan induk itu tidak pernah ambil peduli.

Kesalahan perancangan itu harus dipikul Jawatankuasa Pertandingan Tempatan FAM - jawatankuasa awalnya menjanjikan pengendalian lancar, tetapi kembali dibelenggu jumlah pindaan perlawanan hampir sama banyaknya ketika dikemudi nakhoda lalu.

Malah jawatankuasa itu juga bakal dipertanggungjawabkan memadam saki baki keghairahan Piala Malaysia ekoran keputusan membenarkan semua 16 ahli gabungan bertanding dalam saingan paling berprestij itu, musim depan.

Isyarat yang dihantar begitu jelas - bukan merit prestasi jadi ukuran, sebaliknya hubungan sesama sendiri lebih dipentingkan tanpa mengambil kira apa jadi terhadap usaha meningkatkan tahap bola sepak negara.

Itu juga kaitannya apabila FAM memutuskan untuk mengharamkan penyertaan pemain import, musim depan. Ia berpunca kerana ada ahli gabungan tidak mampu, lantas semua yang lain juga tidak harus dibenarkan memiliki khidmat sebegitu.

Sekretariat badan induk itu pula tampak kelam kabut pengurusannya.

Contohnya ialah ada amaran ahli gabungan akan dikenakan tindakan jika tidak mencarum pendapatan kepada Kumpulan Wang Simpanan Pekerja (KWSP), padahal antara puncanya ialah wang subsidi tahunan yang lambat pula dikeluarkan.

Itu belum dikira lagi cerita hutang FAM hampir RM1 juta kepada syarikat pembekal tiket-tiket perlawanan Liga Malaysia.

Hubungan dingin sekretariat FAM dengan penaja, juga bukan rahsia. Jika tidak, takkanlah penaja hanya dijemput pada saat akhir ke kongres badan induk itu apabila ada yang baru ‘teringat’ pentingnya kehadiran mereka.

Campurkanlah pula sikap angkuh segelintir pegawai sekretariat terhadap media massa, yang dianggap mereka sebagai ‘gangguan tidak perlu’, maka lengkaplah musim caca marba buat badan induk itu, musim ini.

Satu edisi kongres sudah berlalu sejak pucuk pimpinan baru FAM dipilih, September tahun lalu. Mungkin sudah tiba masa angin perubahan sebenar, cuba dijanakan.


Looking ahead towards the London Olympics in 2012, I hope that the National Sports Council and the Olympic Council Malaysia will be more serious in their approach.

I wish to suggest a different approach, that is instead of waiting till the last moment, we appoint the Chef De Mission for the London Olympics this year, thereby giving him/her a four year headstart.

And the same practice should be applied to the 2010 Asian Games as well.

Why, would you ask, the importance of appointing a Chef De Mission way in advance, even before the athletes have qualified?

The reason is simple, let them be part of the planning process to identify the athletes and work with the National Sports Associations, assisting them to qualify and looking after the athletes needs well in advance rather then being just figure heads.

So I wish to propose, though many may not agree that Dato Sieh Kok Chi be appointed as the Asian Games Chef De Mission and Dato Wira Mazlan Ahmad as the 2012 London Olympics Chef De Mission.

What better way to appreciate and recognise the contributions of these two fine gentlemen who have contributed towards Malaysian Sports over the past three decades.

Will it happen, I doubt it very much but the ball is in your court Tunku Imran and Dato Ismail Sabri. We do not need to hold a sports convention to decide on this.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008


Alexander Fraser Tytler's quotes

"From bondage to spiritual faith; From spiritual faith to great courage; From courage to liberty; From liberty to abundance; From abundance to complacency; From complacency to apathy; From apathy to dependence; From dependence back into bondage."

Is this what will happen to Malaysian sports after the convention in October?


A short note to my friends who are still involved in Malaysian Sports or those who think they know the ills that plague our sports scenario.

While we believe that sports should be free of political influence, free of racial barriers, free of personal attacks, that really has not been the case.

Just because Lee Chong Wei lost in the final, some have questioned his committment while others have gone a step further by alleging that he fixed the final. So to all I seek you to ask yourself if its really the interest of sports you have in mind?

Each of us has a little voice in our head. It is the voice of our sub-conscious, judging self.

On a daily basis, we engage in self-talk; we comment on each situation we encounter.
We discuss events and plans in our minds. Our commentary is both positive and negative.

Positive thoughts and planning support the accomplishment of our goals.
Negative thoughts and comments undermine our self-esteem and self-confidence, and negatively impact our ability to accomplish our goals.

It is important to listen to your voice. You can change its tone by believing in yourself and in your ability to accomplish your goals and resolutions. Use this unconscious critic to positively support your goal setting success.


There was an announcement on Tuesday by the Hon. Minister of Youth & Sports that a National Sports Convention, akin to the one held in 1996 at Langkawi, will be held this October.

While I will not debate on the merits of holding such a convention, announced right after our failure to land gold at Beijing, what I will reveal is the decisions taken in the now famous Langkawi Declaration and just how much of it has been implemented.

And in order to refresh how true the saying " Prophets are never believed on their own land", allow me to reproduce a piece written in 2005.

We are a nation of sports fans and sports players. Interest in watching sports continues at a high level and recreational participation in sports continues to grow.
Some of those who participate in amateur sports dream of becoming paid professional athletes, coaches, or sports officials but very few beat the long and daunting odds of making a full-time living from professional athletics. Those athletes who do make it to professional levels find that careers are short and jobs are insecure.
Even though the chances of employment as a professional athlete are slim, there are many opportunities for at least a part-time job related to athletics as a coach, instructor, referee, or umpire in amateur athletics and in high schools, colleges, and universities.
Expanding opportunities are expected for coaches and instructors, as a higher value is being placed upon physical fitness in our society and this was further emphasized in the recent 2006 budget unveiled by the Prime Minister.
Malaysian’s of all ages are engaging in more physical fitness activities, such as participating in competition and joining clubs, and are being encouraged to participate in physical education.
Employment of coaches and instructors also will increase with expansion of school and college programs and growing demand for private sports instruction.
Sports-related job growth within education also will be driven by the decisions of Ministry of Education.
Population growth dictates the construction of additional schools, particularly in the expanding suburbs.
However, funding for sports programs is often one of the first areas to be cut when budgets become tight.
But the popularity of team sports often enables shortfalls to be offset somewhat by patronage of the fans as is the case for football in the country.
The need to replace many high school coaches also will provide some coaching opportunities.
Competition for professional sports jobs will continue to be extremely intense.
However we could well do without the government at times over relying on foreign expertise when the locals are quite capable of doing the same jobs.
If the locals are not been given a chance to prove their worth, then we will continue to be in the backwaters when it comes to administrative skills.
Though some might disagree, the words of wisdom from OCM Hon. Secretary Datuk Sieh Kok Chi is something worth pondering upon.
For Kok Chi had lamented that if we pay peanuts we get monkeys and if we pay bigger peanuts we tend to get bigger monkeys.
How true, for there is a tendency to overpay the foreigners whereas when the locals apply for the same position, they tend to be given a lower salary thus there is no fair play or justice.
Sometimes it tends to make these capable administrators feel that it is sin to be Malaysian.
The authorities must change their perception and start relying on the locals to head the committees or special projects that have been earmarked towards gaining international excellence.
A friend once said that the prophet is often not believed on his own land and that is no longer a myth but a reality in the Malaysian sports fraternity.
As for the athletes, the opportunities to make a living as a professional in individual sports may grow as new tournaments are established and prize money distributed to participants increases.
Most professional athletes’ careers last only several years due to debilitating injuries and age, so a large proportion of the athletes in these jobs is replaced every year, creating some job opportunities.
However, a far greater number of talented young men and women dream of becoming a sports superstar and will be competing for a very limited number of job openings.
Education and training requirements for athletes, coaches, umpires, and related workers vary greatly by the level and type of sport.
Regardless of the sport or occupation, jobs require immense overall knowledge of the game, usually acquired through years of experience at lower levels.
Athletes usually begin competing in their sports while in primary school and continue through high school and at times college or universities.
They play in tournaments and on high school and college teams, where the best attract the attention of professional scouts.
Most schools require that participating athletes maintain specific academic standards to remain eligible to play.
Becoming a professional athlete is the culmination of years of effort. Athletes who seek to compete professionally must have extraordinary talent, desire, and dedication to training.
But all of these will count for nothing if we continue to sidelines the locals in the decision making process.

Friday, August 15, 2008


Some people seem to suffer from a problem reading and understanding. They have gone on record to say that I have joined MHF and just because I was at the Razak Cup Final, they now claim that I am conspiring to derail their ambition to take over Malaysian Hockey. Sadly some of these people are ones that played for my club in the 90's. I wish them and their friends the very best in their quest of relating me to the difficulties they face. Believe in what you want and say what you want for I will not lose sleep over your childish nature. Spread whatever you want for eventually the trust prevails. Hiding behind a name plucked out from the sky does not help at all for one person knows the truth.

So to all those who claim or are being told that I am part of MHF, against the 102, plotting the downfall of MHF, have something to gain if 102 get into power, good luck to you and hope that you are happy about what you say. Always remember that as in politics and no in sports, there are no permanent enemies nor are there permenant friends.

And by the way I am gainfully employed and not jobless as some claim to be and I left my last job on mutual consent after the expiry of my contract.

Thursday, August 14, 2008


The best of the best CEO’s in the corporate world know that being mentally
prepared is absolutely essential to compete in today’s highly volatile and
selective markets.
Without a firm understanding of the psychology of trading, even the best
stock picker will fail.
In sports to succeed at the top you need to handle bags of pressure, from fans,
managers, owners, competitors and so on.
It takes a good deal of self-security to do that and working with confidence will help you build that.
Unfortunately, nobody has yet discovered a foolproof formula for handling
Each time a team or athlete loses, exasperated fans search for a reasonable explanation for the debacle.
And this will be the case should we not get the elusive gold medal at the Beijing Olympics.
There is never any shortage of theories. There are as many opinions and the
usual reasons put forward are lack of self belief, low fitness level, poor
defending, inability to finish off a game, wrong strategy, absence of pride
in individual and collective performance... so on and so forth.
But will heads roll? Will there be accountability?
We have the Sports Minister saying wait for the next Olympics? Will it take a change in leadership to win the gold?


Something needs to be done for sports in Malaysia and although there has been much talk along the corridors of power, be it at Putrajaya or Jalan Dato Onn, nothing concrete has come out of it.
There has been much said about the Cabinet Committee for Sports, but until and unless something concrete is visible, it is tantamount to empty vessels making noise.
And to continue with such juvenile carping is to do a great disservice to all the athletes who worked so hard to represent the nation.
The reality is that despite some occasional praiseworthy performance, the overall result for Malaysia in the international scene over the years was poor.
It will continue to be poor until we provide long-term assistance for developing athletes.
At the same time we need to start getting the basics right by ensuring that sport plays a more relevant role at primary
school level.
Sport in our primary schools is a joke at present. An increasing number of our school children are overweight and very few pupils receive sufficient exercise.
This is a worrying trend, not only because it minimises our chances of producing top class sports performers, but also because of the future cost to our health care system.
But the Government is doing too little too late to tackle the crisis.

Monday, August 11, 2008


Ever heard the story of the four-minute mile? For years people believed that it is impossible for a human being to run a mile in less than four minutes until Roger Banister proved it wrong in 1954.

Within one year, 37 runners broke the belief barrier. And the year after that, 300 other runners did the same thing.

What happens if you put an animal in a pond? Any animal, big or small, will swim its way through. What happens when someone, who does not know how to swim, falls in deep waters? You drown.

If an animal who has not learned swimming could escape by swimming, why not you? Because you believe you will drown while the animal does not.

You have used a computer keyboard or a typewriter. Ever wondered why the alphabets are organized in a particular order in your keyboard? You might have thought it is to increase the typing speed. Most people never question it.

But the fact is that this system was developed to reduce the typing speed at a time when typewriter parts would jam if the operator typed too fast.

These three cases show the power of our beliefs. There is no other more powerful directing force in human behavior than belief.

Your beliefs have the power to create and to destroy. A belief delivers a direct command to your nervous system.

And that is what is missing in Malaysian athletes of late – the belief factor. And our archers exit at the Beijing Games is another indication of lack of self belief.

Many a battle is often won in the dressing room or even at the training ground but our athletes are oblivious to this fact. They think that by going out and performing well on the match/event day, they will taste success.

In the case of the archers, they were doomed as the Team Manager took the spotlight away from them, though he will claim he was taking away the pressure. But if these athletes cannot handle pressure, then they have no business being there.

But it is the hard work that they put in during the training sessions that makes the difference between fame and shame, and sadly for those who have exited the games, it was not entirely their doing.

And there is the question of self doubt within our athletes and this is something that only they can overcome.One has to compete and overcome the burden of self doubt if they are going to be successful.

No coach will ever know the outcome of any match or contest in advance for even the best can be beaten.

For many it is their apprehension that provides the fuel for their outstanding competitiveness.

The other side of this is that the paralyzing inertia of doubt that can make one risk averse and indecisive.

The great battle between belief and doubt is fought everytime one competes against worthy opponents, and it is an ever present obstacle to overcome.

It is also our belief that determines how much of our potential we will be able to tap. So you better examine some of your beliefs minutely.

For example, do you believe that you can excel in whatever you do? Do you believe you are bad in mathematics? Do you believe that other people don't like you? Do you believe life is full of problems? What are your beliefs about people?

No belief is right or wrong. It is either empowering or limiting. A belief is nothing but the generalization of a past incident.

As a kid if a dog bit you, you believed all dogs to be dangerous. To change a particular behavior pattern, identify the beliefs associated with it. Change those beliefs and a new pattern is automatically created.

Have you heard about the placebo effect? People who are told a drug will have a certain effect will many times experience that effect even when given a pill without those properties.

Perhaps that is what Malaysian sports needs, a dose of self confidence that will last a lifetime.


Though many changes took place in Malaysian sports, there still is a sore point when it comes to the funding received by the national sports association (NSA).

This has been the bone of content ever since the National Sports Council took over the running of high performance sports in the country.

Either by design or genuine mistakes, the NSC has been concentrating too much on high performance sports and had left the development plans to the NSA’s to carry out.

But without the necessary financial resources, there was not much that the NSA’s could achieve. And the closure of the Core Sports Program is such a clear example.

Though more use could be made of financial rewards and incentive payments for athletes and coaches who reach their performance targets, this has not been the case, with exception of us trying to win gold at the Olympics. At time of writing Thailand has a gold to show with Vietnam a silver and Indonesia a bronze.

There should be a clearer assessment of whether the sport should receive public funding in the first place. Money is currently distributed to some of the richest sports. Much of this money is meant to be for development and not to cater for high performance athletes.

There is an important need to introduce a framework for funding and accountability.

And towards achieving this there are several steps that must be put in place and hence the NSC Board should explore these possibilities.

The first step in sports funding and must remain largely a voluntary process.

Therefore applicant ought to submit a completed NSA Sports Funding Eligibility Application.

The guidelines for seeking funding assistance must be made public and be listed and not left to the discretion of a single officer.

And more importantly the criteria must include all the requirements set out in the eligibility criteria as determined by the Sports Advisory Panel/National Sports Council/Sports Commissioners Office.

Once the application is completed and it is determined which NSA is eligible, an in-depth assessment process should carried out to determine at what level and under what condition the financial support is to be provided.

The assessment stage calls for data collection, in-depth questionnaires, and follow-up interviews to assess how each application scope of activities and performances contribute towards the National Sports Policy and if it satisfies areas such as excellence, participation, capacity building and interaction.

Excellence basically means past and current track records with an evaluation of the NSA’s programmes for future international success.

This process will determine if the NSA will qualify for sustaining program funding or project funding and may even go up to the extent of targeting the recipients of funding support.

The assessment is used to establish the annual funding range or its specific funding level, as the case may be.

The actual amount to be received by the NSA may vary subject to factors such as availability of funds, recommendations emanating form the annual review process as well as accountability requirements.

All NSA funding is subject to compliance with accountability to specific contribution terms and conditions.

This is to ensure that the government’s funding contributes to the achievement of the National Sports Policy goals and as such the progress of an NSA is measured over the course of the Olympic year funding cycle.

In addition to the clear guidelines there ought to be additional financial incentives.

By offering financial incentives, the government will make it clear that it is a powerful lever to drive change.

Maximum use should be made of funding agreements with delivery partners, to ensure that required outcomes and expected financial, operational and quality standards are met.

Good performance should be rewarded but poor performance should result in sanctions.

How does one ensure that all this is workable? Malaysia is unique as it has the Sports Development act 1997.

However statutory approaches should be used with care to guard against creating unintended consequences and restricting local flexibility and freedoms.

The authorities should start promoting best practice. And this includes standard setting, quality control and disseminating best practice are all roles that government can undertake.

This approach may not lead to an immediate change in those sports that are funded. Parts of it are already being addressed.

But if the NSC can take this process into account, and make it more transparent, resources will be better focused on sustained success in the sports most in need of support, most likely to bring benefit, and most likely to succeed.


Another edition, I believe it was the 46th edition, has come to an end at the Tun Razak Stadium on August 10. As my homestate NS had made the final after a nine year absence, the last being 1999, I made my way to the stadium, hoping that NS barren run will come to an end. But that was not to be the case as KL were not only superior on the pitch but off it as well. Kudos to George Koshy, the ever humble KLHA President who went over to the NS bench first after the final whistle, a true gentleman.

After Felda had supported the Razak Cup last year, I am told they declined to do so this year citing budget constraints. This is the trophy of our former premier, the father to our current DPM and Felda could not afford to sponsor and offered a lame excuse. But trust me, two months down the road Felda will spend close to RM3 million on a sport that Malaysians participate for solely recreational purposes. Still that is what life is all about, full of discrimination in this country.

Thursday, August 07, 2008


There is talk that a national sports association could soon be subject to an attempt to seal its premises for none payment to creditors. This is indeed shocking to say the least as such an action is unprecedented (to borrow a phrase from Dato Wira Mazlan's article in the Malay Mail on August 6). Hopefully this does not happen as Malaysian sports does not need such negative publicity given the political scenario in the country. It is best to work things out rather then resorting to such means as the national association may have its own reasons as to why they are unable to pay up. But the bottom line is to live within your means right, and obviously this has not been the case.

Wednesday, August 06, 2008


This was an article written by S. Selvam of the NST in 2004 before the Athens Olympics.

"THE Athens Olympic Games will be the last multi-sport Games for Datuk
Mazlan Ahmad as the director-general of the National Sports Council (NSC).
He retires in July next year, but Mazlan wants to remember Athens as a
Games where Malaysians return with, at the very least, one medal and
firmly believes the colour could be gold.
"Some say NSC are very conservative when it comes to predicting the
number of medals in any multi-sport Games. But I really hope, the national
contingent will return with at least one medal, irrespective of the
colour," said Mazlan in Bukit Jalil yesterday.
"As long as the team return with at least a medal, a target which is
very much within our capability, I'll be happy.

Nope we did not win ANY medal at the Athens Olympics and what followed was an inquiry conducted by one Muralee Menon and Dato Seri Dr. Ibrahim Saad. While Ibrahim's report centered on the performance and preparation of the athletes in Athens, Muralee's report almost led to Mazlan losing his job as the NSC DG.

The only positive thing that came out of it was the formation of the Cabinet Committee for Sports chaired by none other then the Deputy Prime Minister. And to be honest nothing concrete has been done to help sports. First there was such fanfare as the Core Sports Program was launched after the First Cabinet Committee meeting held on November 2004. Four years on that is dead and buried.

We had 14 Ministers as members of the Cabinet Committee, and what do we have to show after four years, nothing.

The fields are still being taken away in the name of development, the TPCA Stadium issue not resolved and we have Matsushita giving up their complex for NSC to run. And the school fields are still off limits after school hours to the local community, teachers in schools still teach PE in tudung, we still have only one period for PE and we have the Education Ministry trying to bite more then they can chew by taking over age group tournaments when it is they who have killed the inter school rivalry in the first place.

Four years on and we have a new man at the helm at NSC, Dato Zolkples Embong as the Director General. And he too made an interesting observation, but this is the same tune sung four years ago,

"NATIONAL Sports Council (NSC) director general Zolkples Embong has declared the Malaysian Olympics contingent are the best prepared and is optimistic the medal drought will be ended in Beijing next month. Badminton is the sport where Malaysia can expect at least a medal and Zolkples said the BA of Malaysia (BAM) has assured it will not fail this time."

I do hope and pray that we do not fail to land a medal, but if we do then we can always rely on holding another investigation or form more committees, for we are gold medal winners in doing just that.