It's not too late to wish Bera MP, Datuk Ismail Sabri Yaakob, "welcome on board, YB"...
Sincerity is paramount, Sir, if you wish to develop and raise the standard of sports.
Just to recap,
My Open Letter to Datuk Ismail, which happened to be my last in the Malay Mail.
Date : 22/03/2008
Dear YB Datuk,
RE: Appointment as the Sports Minister
Please accept my heartiest congratulations on being appointed the
country's 15th Sports Minister, Datuk.
Having been part of a sports fraternity that has been rocked by a
number of issues over the years, my humble wish is for you, Datuk, to
liberate us from the dark forces that threaten to condemn Malaysian
sports to perpetual darkness.
Although I personally believe Datuk should be focusing your energy on
youth issues, sports remains an ideal battleground to win the hearts and
minds of youth.
I'm certain your experience as the chairman of the Stadium Board (until
you were dropped and replaced by Datuk Seri Diraja Syed Razlan Putra
Jamalullail) will put you in good stead.
It is natural, Datuk, that you have to relinquish the presidency of
Malaysian Gasing Association (Pegama) and the Temerloh Athletics
As we are all aware, Datuk, sports should be a vehicle to build
bridges, not to tear them down.
Only through sports can you have a slightly-built Iban carrying the
contingent's flag, with a legendary sprinter of Sri Lankan ancestry
behind him as the chef-de-mission, followed closely by a multi-racial
group of athletes pulling towards the same direction - chasing honours
for Malaysia. This scenario took place at the Athens Olympics in 2004, of
which I was privileged enough to be part of.
I don't have to remind you, Datuk, of the task that awaits you.
Historically speaking, you are the third Sports Minister from Pahang,
after the illustrious Tan Sri Hamzah Abu Samah and of course the present
Deputy Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Mohd Najib Tun Razak, widely
acknowledged as the best Sports Minister we ever had.
Tunku Abdul Rahman Putra Al-haj (1964-66) and Datuk Senu Abdul Rahman
(1966-68), famed for his Revolusi Mental book, were the first two Sports
Ministers, when leaders were short on cash but high on integrity.
During his tenure from 1969 to 1973, Hamzah tabled the National Sports
Council (NSC) Act in 1971 and later held several high-profile posts such
as president of the FA of Malaysia (FAM), Olympic Council of Malaysia
(OCM), Asian Football Confederation (AFC) as well as FIFA and IOC
Datuk Ali Ahmad (1973-76), Tan Sri Abdul Samad Idris (1976-80), Datuk
Mokhtar Hashim (1980-82), Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi (1982-83),
Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim (1983-84), Datuk Seri Dr Sulaiman Daud
(1984-86), Najib (1986-89), Datuk Annuar Musa (1990-93), Datuk Abdul
Ghani Othman (1993-1995), Tan Sri Muhyiddin Mohd Yassin (1995-1999) and
Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Hussein (1999-2004) took turns to help shape the
nation's sporting fortunes.
From 2004 up to the 2008 general elections, Datuk Seri Azalina Othman
Said's desire was to create a culture of sports, which included
grassroots programmes at every Parliamentary and State Assembly
However I suggest, Datuk, that you look into some of the policies which
are not really cast in stone.
You may not want to toy around with NSC and its coffers. Perhaps you
may consider putting the National Sports Institute back under the ambit
You may also realise, Datuk, the expensive football youth tournament
called the Champions Youth Cup was rammed down FA of Malaysia's throats
while the Hertfordshire high-performance centre in London was pursued
despite public outcry.
You may also want to settle the Malaysian Taekwondo Association (MTA)
controversy which began in May 2005 and review the status of overpaid
expatriates to positions previously held within our walls.
You may also consider engaging stakeholders like OCM positively and not
subject the likes of Datuk Sieh Kok Chi to public ridicule just because
he has the audacity to question your policies.
Datuk, if we were to climb the apex of world domination in sports,
sincerity is paramount. Sports and youth cannot be developed through
advertisements, slogans or through airtime on the media. The money ought
to be better utilised to run the various programmes and reward the people
In sports too, gender is not an issue. Nicol David, Noraseela Mohd
Khalid and Leong Mun Yee emerged through the trusted system of old that
produced M. Rajamani, Marina Chin, Sylvia Ng and Mary Lim.
Do not think sports is a piece of cake. The experts are few and far
between, so make full use of them. The people's hard-earned money, Datuk,
should also be spent wisely.
Did you know NSC spent RM160 million from 1993 to 1998, with 10 gold
medals in the KL '98 Games as the return on investments? But how much did
NSC spend from 2004 to 2008? And what is the result?
Your main task, Datuk, is to give due recognition to the related
government agencies like NSC, the volunteers from OCM and NSAs, parents,
coaches and all stakeholders and drive them to the same destination. In
short, everyone must subscribe to your Mission Statement.
Rest assured, Datuk, the Press will be here to help you, act as
watchdogs and extend our support as and when necessary. Kami bukan
polong, kami mahu tolong!
If you feel the need to source for more information about the current
state of affairs from a neutral standpoint, we can discuss it over the
tantalising freshwater ikan patin masak tempoyak dish in Temerloh. You
can ask your son Dafi of AF5 to tag along.