Assalamualaikum and greetings.
I hope this letter reaches you in great health. I know Turkmenistan is an exotic place to live in despite claims to the contrary.
Thank you for the pictures. It's nice to know you and Risya are staying in a spacious home at Turkmenbashy. It appears like a castle.
Anyway, since you like to discuss sports in Malaysia with me, I wish to share with you a few interesting issues from this little corner of mine.
I'm sure you are fully aware of the CYC issue. You know I was among the first to question the wisdom of having an expensive tournament in Malaysia at the expense of the taxpayers' money.
Bernama reported recently Tourism Minister Datuk Seri Azalina Othman Said, who was Youth and Sports Minister when CYC was launched in March 2007, said it was not right that the organisers of the Champions Youth Cup (CYC) football competition had neglected the FA of Malaysia (FAM).
You know, Azam, if I were among the Press people at the function, I would have asked her: Did you not neglect FAM yourself when the idea of CYC was mooted?
She was reported to have said that when she was the Youth and Sports Minister, the idea to have the tournament was brought up at a meeting of the Cabinet Committee on Sports Development, which is represented by 15 other minsiters and chaired by Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak.
"It was a decision of the committee to organise the tournament. I was also disappointed when I got to know the promoter did not want to work with the FAM on it.
"For me, it was the most important thing they should have paid attention to," she said.
But Azam, you and I know how arrogant some people can be. Now they have the cheek to pass the buck.
Azam, I must tell you that I don't agree with the Cabinet Committee proposing on creating tournaments. I think it's terms of reference should be confined to putting in place a sports-friendly culture, in terms of infrastructure and human capital.
The Cabinet Committee is not the place where you sell an idea of organising a football tournament for youth that costs the government RM17 million in staging rights alone!
I'm sure as an old boy of MCKK you are taught to hold dearly to principles, the right ones I might add. Your junior is already a YB and perhaps you should consider becoming one in the future?
Anyway the Cabinet Committee also approved the idea of a forward base in London. So is the Cabinet Committee a place to discuss mega projects?
I'm sure you would agree with me, Azam, if I say the Cabinet Committee should not get involved in the business of promoting and financing events.
By right the promoter, in this case Gifted Group Limited, should have sold the idea to FA of Malaysia who in turn discuss it at their level before forwarding it to the Sports Minister who would then take it up to the Cabinet Committee to seek an endorsement to facilitate the promoter's bid to source for funds. Instead it was done the other way around!
You know, Azam, when I was at the Malay Mail, I was the only one who kept on questioning Azalina's policies, so much so I was accused of getting personal and driven by a personal agenda.
Later on Citizen Nades from the Sun and Ahmad Khawari Isa from Berita Harian joined me in the battle for the truth. Only these three. Only these three. Only these three.
As it stands now, I am fully vindicated.
On Azalina's successor, Datuk Ismail Sabri Yaakob, I feel sorry for him that he has to deal with the mess left by his predecessor. I know he has his plate full so much so he did not have the time to officiate one SIC function! And then Ismail had the audacity to ask SIC chairman Datuk Mokhzani Mahathir to step down because the chairmanship is a government-appointed post.
I don't know why our Ministers seem to have no or little class, Azam. I worry for our future.
My salam to Risya. I shall be writing more letters to you, Azam. Don't worry.