Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Adversity makes strange bedfellows

Well, the title speaks for itself and what I am sharing with readers of this blog is the issue with regards of the National Sports Council owing money to National Sports Associations, which was highlighted by a main stream newspaper a couple of days ago.

And true to form the NSC Director General Dato Zolkples Embong responded to the claim in his normal manner, yes the NSC owes money, yes the claims are in but not in order, yes we have severe cash flow problems as money from the Ministry and sponsors has yet to filter down to the NSC.

But what he failed to answer was just why it is taking that long to pay the debts, and why the NSC continues on its lavish spending in all other areas. And this is where I wish to state that it is not solely the doing of Dato Zolkples that Malaysian sports, or rather the administration of NSC is now deemed to be poor. This is a result of inheriting problems, inheriting debts but above all not having people that can be fully trusted around him. That Dato Zolkples is a fact that you should accept.

Let me clarify one thing here, that Dato Zolkples and I used to be friends, but we no longer speak or glance at each other when we walk past each other. We have had our good times, period. And we have different opinions as to how certain things can be handled. Period.

Thus I gain nothing in defending him in this piece, but as a responsible person who is well aware of the webs of deceit that occur  in Malaysian sports, I feel that Dato Zolkples is being made the scapegoat in this matter.

What intrigues me and many others is the timing of the statements and the personalities who made the statement with regards to monies owed to them. The Badminton Association of Malaysia is owed more then all those three bodies that made the statements, yet opted to channel their grouses the diplomatic way.

And why has the OCM Board not brought up the issue of the RM1.2 million owed through their representatives that sit on the NSC Board? And why has none of the NSC Board members responded to the allegations made since they are presented with the statement of accounts and the expenditure incurred?

Coming back to the issue of the former Minister virtually drying up the coffers of NSC, I beg to differ as from the statement of accounts of NSC in 2004, the reserve funds were RM150 million and the annual operating expenditure of NSC was RM157 million. And for those who might not know or just are turning a deaf ear, most of the monies that funds sports comes from "sin" tax, meaning from liqour taxes, tobacco taxes and gambling taxes. But that is another story.
I will not want to defend nor agree with the actions of those who splurged the NSC monies in the past, be it by buying chalets, increasing the number of buildings within the NSC complex when we have white elephants surrounding the complex, spending money by holding camps prior to multi -sports events that create more problems for the athletes rather then help them improve (seriously isn't this something that is a waste of money since they have enough accommodation and facilities within the NSC Complex) and taking over the role of the national sports associations rather then help them.

The fact of the matter is that someone within NSC is providing ammunition to the detractors of Dato Zolpkles to gun him down. And these are the very people who want to see him exit in shame.

The irony of the whole matter is that this whole issue is the creation of Dato Zolkples himself and he had an opportunity to break free and be his own man. But rather he allowed himself to be manipulated and in the words of a senior sports official, even the former NSC DG does not have kind words to say about Dato Zolkples.

Sports in the country is being used as a tool to cause disharmony and the actions of a few have brought disrepute to NSC. I am often asked where I get information pertaining to certain issues, well the truth of the matter is that there is always someone who has ambition and is quite prepared to sacrifice his friend and work alongside his enemy for a common goal.

And as a final parting shot, why did the Minister and Deputy Minister, who are actually empowered by the law to approve expenditure of the NSC and provide a letter of authority to the NSC DG, by convention and not by any act or decree of parliament, silent about this issue?

Please Right Hon. Minister of Youth & Sports, give us a detailed account of just how much money the Ministry, be it during your time or the time of your predecessors used from the NSC coffers, how much has been be reimbursed, and just how much you have yet to channel to the NSC this year?



(Bernama) -- Youth and Sports Minister Datuk Ahmad Shabery Cheek has denied that the National Sports Council (MSN) owes sports associations money.

"They are not debts as claimed. Allocation applications by sports associations that are not met can't be called debts.

"As the people's trustee, we must look at the bills presented by sports associations. Claims without documents cannot be paid," he said commenting media reports that MSN owed associations millions in Bukit Jalil here Wednesday.

Shabery said MSN was not in financial trouble and had adequate allocation to fund activities organised by sports associations.

He added the global financial crisis meant less allocation for associations as the government practises wise spending.

"MSN is now more careful when approving allocation applications by sports associations," he said.