Saturday, May 30, 2009

Zol to undergo bypass

UPDATED, 8.30am

NSC D-G Datuk Zol Embong underwent a successful bypass surgery which lasted four hours earlier this morning. He is currently in the ICU of Ampang Puteri. I was told Zol was taken to Ampang Puteri around 8.0pm the night before. He had earlier in the afternoon complained of chest pains while playing in a Maksak-organised golf tournament at UPM.

He is the second NSC DG in service who has had to undergo a bypass operation. One of his predecessors, Datuk Wira Mazlan Ahmad, underwent a similar operation in Penang in 2000 after doctors discovered five of his arteries were blocked. But unlike Mazlan who was a heavy smoker, Zol does not smoke and leads a healthy lifestyle, counting golf and tennis as his two favourite games.

NEWS FLASH - 11.30pm

National Sports Council (NSC) director-general Datuk Zolkples Embong is scheduled to undergo a heart bypass surgery anytime now at Ampang Puteri. I was reliably informed that three of his arteries were blocked. Our prayers are with Zolkples.

Jega re-elected and status quo maintained

The results

Cik Hajjah Norminshah Sabirin monitoring the vote count

The OCM delegates

"It was the first time I stood for elections. After discussions with a few people, I decided to face the challenge because I did not want to be labelled as having run away from a fight," so said Dr Jega to a few members of the Press

The 2009-2011 line-up
Back row (from left): Moira Tan, A Sani Karim, Roy Rajasingham, Ramlay Ibrahim, Kee Yong Wee, Ang Teck Lee. Front row (from left): Low Beng Choo, Sieh Kok Chin, Tunku Imran Tuanku Ja'afar, Dr M. Jegathesan, Prof W.Y. Chin. Absent (Prof Zakaria Ahmad who was in the United States)

A thumping victory for Datuk Dr M. Jegathesan, whereas the candidates linked to the other camp were swept away by the delegates' decision to maintain the status quo.

So here's the Olympic Council of Malaysia (OCM) line-up for 2009-2011:

President: Tunku Imran Tuanku Jaafar (unopposed after Datuk Seri Shahidan Kassim withdrew on Friday)

Deputy president: Datuk Dr M. Jegathesan (beat Datuk Seri Dr Ibrahim Saad 65-33)

Vice-presidents (4 men, 1 woman): Datuk Abdullah Sani Karim (95), Prof Datuk W. Y. Chin (89 votes), Prof Zakaria Ahmad (79), Datuk Roy Rajasingham (70). Former OCM general manager M.P. Haridas polled 59 votes. Low Beng Choo (unopposed as the women's VP).

Honorary secretary: Datuk Sieh Kok Chi (unopposed)

Honorary assistant secretary (man): Ramlay Ibrahim (51), Hisham Mohd Noor (23), L. Ramesh (18), Lawrence Yeow (3)

Honorary assistant secretary (woman): Moira Tan Siew See (52), Latifah Tan Sri Ya'cob (46)

Treasurer: Datuk Seri Kee Yong Wee (unopposed)

Assistant treasurer: Rosmanizam Abdullah @ Ang Teck Lee @ K.T. Rajah (unopposed)

TonyM blogs!

My ex-boss Tony Mariadass now runs a blog at With almost three decades of experience in sports journalism under his belt, Tony's thoughts will add colour to the blogosphere!

Friday, May 29, 2009

My pick for the OCM Cabinet...

REPORTERS are barred from Saturday's OCM Annual General much for transparency in sports or OCM!

Datuk Seri Shahidan Kassim to call for a Press conference at 6.30pm today. 7.15pm - Shahidan has decided to withdraw his candidacy but he is expected to voice out his concerns as a delegate of MAAU on the way certain things are being conducted by OCM.

Long dubbed the old folks home by its detractors, the Olympic Council of Malaysia (OCM) is in a dire need of rejuvenation.

Tunku Imran Tuanku Ja'afar's tenure since he defeated Tan Sri Hamzah Abu Samah 66-36 in November 1998, has not been a bed of roses. When Datuk Seri Shahidan Mohd Kassim was nominated in 2007 for the presidency before pulling out at the last minute, it was meant to send a signal to Tunku that OCM under his leadership had lacked dynamism.

He was and is still seen, by some affiliates, as supportive of elitist sports such as squash, cricket and golf.

OCM, its critics claim, springs to life only when there is an Olympics, Asian Games, Commonwealth Games or SEA Games. Their role, detractors say, is to submit entries and arrange for the participation of Malaysians.

Installing a new president, some say, is the only way for OCM to scale greater heights.

By all means, do so, but can Shahidan provide a more prominent leadership to OCM when ASUM struggles to find a successor to backstroke specialist Alex Lim Keng Liat, when MAAU seems to be too reliant on pole vaulter Roslinda Samsu and hurdler Noraseela Mohd Khalid and with Shahidan giving deputy president, Karim Ibrahim, a free rein?

My idea of a charismatic president who would make things happen is Raja Nazrin Shah, who once presided over the Malaysian Hockey Federation (MHF) and the Perak FA. Another candidate would be Tengku Abdullah Sultan Ahmad Shah, who is bidding to rejuvenate MHF after spending years at Wisma FAM as the No 2. Just for the record, the previous OCM presidents were E.M. MacDonald, Sir Henry H.S. Lee, Tun Abdul Razak Hussein and Hamzah.

My pick: As for now, we have to resort to retaining Tunku Imran
Verdict: Shahidan will lose, for Pete’s sake

Datuk Dr M. Jegathesan v Prof Datuk Seri Dr Ibrahim Saad

Now this is the battle royale. I can claim to be close to both personalities. Dr Jega and I have had a number of discourses on sports, in private, in Singapore'99, Jakarta'2000 and most notably Athens 2004. His critics claim he has not done much for OCM and it is instead a mere platform for him to pursue his interests on the global front. His track record on both the medical and athletics front however suggests he has always earned his stripes, that means on merit.
Personally I remember with fondness the day Dr Jega came to my wedding at the modest Kg Sengkuang, Sri Gading in Johor. Imagine the impact he created, the oohs and the aahs...

Ibrahim did not escape my scrutiny when he was SAP chairman, AsiaComm chairman where his role was akin to the NSC director-general's post and finally the FAM general secretary seat. Interesting to note while Dr Jega was the chef-de-mission to the Athens Games, Ibrahim was tasked to head the two-man panel to investigate the abject failure to win a single medal upon the contingent's return. Ibrahim has hinted at a more independent OCM and for its office-bearers to serve and to fight when necessary if he is elected into the No 2 post! His family and I appeared on TV9's Nasi Lemak Kopi O discussing Euro2008 last year and the twof us have enjoyed a cordial relationship come what may, but it helps his birthday takes place a day after mine.

My pick: As the only genuine Olympian among the office-bearers throughout the history of OCM, Dr Jega gets my vote, if only I were a delegate.
Verdict: The ace of pace-cum-doctor to beat Ibrahim to the tape

My pick for the vice-presidents: Prof Datuk W.Y. Chin, Datuk Abdullah Sani Karim, Prof Datuk Zakaria Ahmad and M.P. Haridas. Datuk Roy Rajasingham and Edwin Chong to bite the dust!

Verdict: A close tussle between Haridas and Roy for the final slot

The fat cats

On Saturday, 102 individuals representing 34 national sports associations will cast their vote to decide the line-up to lead the Olympic Council of Malaysia (OCM) for the next two years. The candidates are as follows:

A much slimmer loose cannon, Jasni Shafie, Shaukei Kahar, U Chin Ong, Datuk Sieh Kok Chi and Tunku Tan Sri Imran Tuanku Ja'afar circa 2000. Tunku Pete unseated Tan Sri Hamzah Abu Samah in November 1998, not 1999 as reported by Bernama, to ascend to Malaysian sports' highest throne. Also president of Malaysian Cricket Association and founding chairman of SportExcel, he is a widely respected figure in the international sports circle. The 1973 national squash champion and SRAM founding secretary turned 61 in March.

The former Menteri Besar of Perlis, Datuk Seri Shahidan Kassim, who is also president of four NSAs, turns 58 on June 17. That's all I can say.

Datuk Sieh Kok Chi (extreme left) is secured for another term, but the remaining three gentlemen will leave it to the delegates on Saturday

Politics, academia and sports administration are the three areas Prof Datuk Seri Dr Haji Ibrahim Saad has tried his hands on and now an adviser to Octagon, a sports consultancy and event management firm. The former vice-president and later general secretary of the FAM, Ibrahim is seen as a do-er. Turns 63 on Aug 3, exactly eight years younger than Prof W.Y. Chin. Kindly go to for a Q and A with Ibrahim.

Few remember the fact Datuk Dr Jegathesan Manickavasagam bagged the National Science Award in 1995, almost three decades after the ace of pace was picked as the inaugural winner of the National Sportsman of the Year award. The pathologist who capped his career in the civil service as the deputy director general of Health is resigned to the fact his athletics exploits overshadow his real contributions to society - in the medical field where more than 100 scientific papers are attributed to him. There's even a bacteria named after him yet we remember him as the 1966 Asian Games sprint king and the first Malaysian to reach the semi-finals of an Olympic event by being among the top 16 200m runners in the Tokyo Games in 1964. Will be 66 in November.

Turns 55 exactly a week after Saturday's elections, Datuk Abdullah Sani Karim was a OCM vice-president from 2005 to 2007 before giving way to Ibrahim Saad. A civil engineer by profession, Sani as he is universally known, represented University of Birmingham in badminton, tennis and chess. Executive chairman and principal owner of five companies with interests ranging from construction to bakery, Sani is the president of SRAM.

Prof Datuk Chin Wai Yeong who turns 71 on Aug 3 is a town planner, architect and sports administrator all rolled into one. Born in Kampar but grew up to become a classmate of Pak Lah in Penang, W.Y. Chin is a respected figure in the world of snooker and billiards.

Born in Singapore in 1947, Prof Datuk Zakaria Ahmad is one of 13 Malaysians to have occupied the Tun Razak Chair at Ohio University. Co-founder of the Malaysian Gymnastics Federation (MGF) in 1977, Zakaria comes from an illustrious family.

M.P. Haridas was the OCM general manager from 1994 to 2008. Born in Malacca, the hockey goalkeeper-turned-teacher-turned-coach-turned-sports administrator turned 71 last January. One of his students at Jasin English Secondary School was former NSC director-general, Datuk Wira Mazlan Ahmad. His contemporaries for the job between the hockey posts were the late Datuk Ho Koh Chye and Anwarul Haque (now a lawyer in Singapore).

Datuk Roy Rajasingham Ratnasingam was a vice-president of the MHF for more than a decade and played hockey at school level. A respected lawyer, Roy is also the secretary of the MHF Foundation.

Another VP candidate is Edwin Chong, general secretary of Amateur Swimming Union of Malaysia (Asum), of which the president is Shahidan. UPDATED - Edwin has withdrawn from contesting.

The women's assistant secretary's post will see a tussle between incumbent Moira Tan and her immediate predecessor, Latifah Tan Sri Ya'cob, who is eligible to contest after attaching all the relevant documents to the independent panel, while Ramlay Ibrahim, the incumbent occupying the men's assistant secretary seat, will be challenged by L. Ramesh, Lawrence Yeow and Hisham Mohd Noor.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Blogging from Bukit Jalil

Great initiative by the junior elite programme of the National Sports Council to come up with a blog at Pay them a visit.

U wartawan, I pun wartawan

A few weeks ago I was interviewed on the phone

Last night I was invited as guest of U Wartawan

Thanks Astro Awani for the opportunity to discuss Malaysian football "live" on U Wartawan last night. I came in as a last-minute substitute for my fellow Kluangite Shebby Singh. Truth be told, I've given up on local football, well I mean the national team qualifying for a major tournament, let alone the World Cup. The football fraternity has explored a number of ideas over the decades to no avail.

I cited the example of a private sector-association joint venture between Ringgit Kreatif and KAFA in the early 90s and other initiatives that might even make the most pessimistic fan to see the glass half full but I sense that the ideas would not be successfully implemented.

I too pointed out there could be solutions in Robert Alberts' Road Map but what has happened to it? Why is FA of Malaysia sitting on it?

My visit to Japan in 1999 too enlightened me on the fact the Japanese make football a national agenda and a community affair. Host Haji Nazri Kahar who hails from Serkam, Melaka, confessed he is a Liverpool fan, so I pity him (hehe). We reminisced about Malacca (well, my late mum was from Merlimau) winning the league but nothing much to show otherwise. I had the privilege of meeting Awani's top bosses, Suhaimi Sulaiman and Kamarul Baharin Haron, in the flesh. Thanks Awani and Izzah.

Big ears will go to...

The UEFA Champions League final early Thursday morning will not be a sleep-inducing affair, despite the wee hours. Tradition dictates neither Barcelona nor Manchester United would opt for the defensive approach. Millions around the world expect both sides to throw caution to the wind.

The cover of 4-4-2 in 2001 and eight years on it is still relevant, eh, except for Henry's jersey. I hope both will take the field

The souvenir programme (thanks to Juli Suharni Jaafar) of the 2002 final won by Real Madrid courtesy of a memorable and momentous goal from a Franco-Algerian playmaker, a goal befitting the occasion...I'm expecting the 2009 souvenir programme next week, courtesy of Mr SAAB

Loose cannon had the good fortune of meeting the Hungarian legend (here scoring in the 1960 final) in 1995

Argentine legend, Alfredo di Stefano, showing perfect balance as he scores against Frankfurt in the classic 1960 final

Santiago Bernabeu (third from left) was enthusiastic about the whole idea of a competition involving clubs in Europe despite apprehensions from UEFA

For all Liverpool fans out there, this combo captures Kenny Dalglish's winning goal against Bruges way back in 1978...

Can this chap cap his career at Old Trafford with a match-winning performance before taking his shooting boots to the Bernabeu? He might not be in United's plans for the rendezvous with Malaysia then...

My heart says Barca to lift the Cup...I want France capitaine Thierry Henry to finally win the Cup with big ears to add to his collection and thus join Zidane (Real Madrid 2002), Karembeu (Real Madrid 1998, 2000), Deschamps (Juventus 1996), Barthez (Marseille 1993), Desailly (Marseille 1993, AC Milan 1994) and Lizarazu (Bayern Munich 2001) from the World Cup winning squad in 1998 to have won the three major honours - the World Cup, the European Championship and the UEFA Champions League.

Let's wish for another great goal to separate the two teams - like the 1992 thunderbolt from Ronald Koeman while current Barca boss Pep Guardiola was on the pitch, Zidane's perfectly executed volley with Ballack slow to stop him in 2002 or Rabah Madjer's back-heel in the 1987 final. No penalties please...

If United were to retain the Cup, well, Malaysians can console themselves with the fact that they will welcome the European champions with open arms in July...sigh

Sunday, May 24, 2009

New Sports Commssioner?

UPDATED 7.40am, May 26 - Oops, an apology is due to the relevant parties, particularly Datuk Nik Mahmud Nik Yusof. Bernama last night carried a report quoting Nik Mahmud as saying his contract as the Sports Commissioner would only expire in June next year.

This was also confirmed by the Ministry's Secretary-General, Datuk Yasin Salleh in his reply to my SMS.

But this still does not change the fact that Nik Mahmud is not suited for the role. Another 12 months of selective persecution and lack of decisiveness, perhaps?

Time for him to go...lah


The Sports Ministry is expected to install a new Sports Commissioner to replace Nik Mahmud Nik Yusof whose contract expired recently.

I for one would be glad to see the back of the former Secretary-General of the Sports Ministry. To me, he had committed numerous blunders, getting involved in his capacity as the adviser to Azalina Othman Said and failing to justify the decisions pertaining to issues such as the Champions Youth Cup (CYC) and the Tour de Langkawi controversy. Prior to his appointment as the Secretary General of the Ministry, he had no track record in sports!

Whether or not Datuk Ahmad Shabery Cheek has anybody in mind to replace Nik Mahmud is not my problem, but it will be problem if his contract is renewed. Either the Ministry converts the position into a permanent post or give it to someone who has a track record in sports, like for instance...

Zaki Abdul Rahman who was the COO of the 2001 SEA Games and director of development at the National Sports Council (NSC) for a long time...

...or Wan Ahmad Radzi Wan Abdul Rahman who was the head honcho of the Sports Division of the Youth and Sports Ministry in the 70s. He is the progenitor of two renowned athletes - Wan Nor Zaleha and Wan Maizan.

Tan Sri Elyas Omar (left) wielded the big stick when he was the Commissioner from 2005 to 2008. Pic taken from Datuk Seri Utama Rais Yatim's Jelebak Jelebu

Where are our sprinters?

The highlight, climax and apex of every multi-sports festivals, without a shadow of a doubt, remains track and field.

Rightfully it should be the thrust of our education system and a core sport.

Due to the eternal internal bickering in the national body that I wish to call Many Are Against U, Malaysia has struggled to parade a decent squad on the international front, particularly in the blue riband event, the century dash.

Since the biennial SEA Games and its forerunner the SEAP Games was introduced exactly 50 years ago, we have a small pool of winners in both the men's and women's categories.

M. Jegathesan, G. Rajalingam and Nazmizan Muhamad belong to the select group, having bagged the gold in the 1965, 1967 and 2003 editions respectively.

In the women's section, the exclusive club of Malaysian gold medal winners of the 100m dash comprises Carmen Kolmeyer (1959), Cheryl Dorall (1967), Mumtaz Jaffar (1981) and G. Shanti (1997).

Therefore I remain skeptical whether the recent MSSM century dash winners, Ambrose Jilom and Siti Nurhayati Zulkifli, can make the grade! MAAU are not doing enough and yet its president is eyeing the Olympic Council of Malaysia presidency...HAH!

The Pahang duo - R. Ganeshwaran and Azmi Ibrahim

Loose cannon, Watson Nyambek and Roslin Mat Tahir

Loose cannon and Thai legend, Anat Ratanapol, who bagged the 100m and 200m gold in the Asian Games in Tehran in 1974

Rabuan Pit upset the formbook to win the 1982 Asian Games 100m gold

Shaharudin Mohd Ali (right) gave up athletics and became a top gun in the airforce instead

M. Rajamani was equally at home in the 200m, 400m and 800m, a rare combo

Junaidah Aman won the 1971 SEAP Games 400m gold

1967 SEAP Games 100m gold medallist and Malay Mail columnist, Cheryl Dorall

Mumtaz Begum Abdul Jaffar took the 1981 SEA Games gold with a time of 11.84s

G. Shanti who shunned the limelight and spoke only when it was necessary, is the last Malaysian woman sprinter to take the SEA Games gold medal

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Koperasi dan persatuan buat bekas ahli sukan

Satu perjumpaan bekas atlit negara dijadual diadakan hujung minggu ini yang antara lain membabitkan aktiviti kesihatan seperti derma darah dan pemeriksaan kesihatan dan bina semangat.

Kem anjuran Yayasan Kebajikan Atlet Kebangsaan (YAKEB) yang dinamakan Program Anda Tetap di Hati ini bertujuan mengumpul semula dan membina hubungan erat di kalangan bekas atlit negara dan berkongsi pendapat bagi meningkatkan peranan YAKEB.

Program dua hari satu malam ini mengumpulkan 111 bekas atlit negara. Turut diselit dalam aturcara solat maghrib berjemaah di Menara Kuala Lumpur sebelum perasmian oleh Menteri Belia dan Sukan, Datuk Shabery Cheek.

Shabery dijangka mengumumkan kewujudan koperasi atlit dan penubuhan persatuan bekas atlit kebangsaan yang diterajui oleh bekas pemain bola sepak Kuala Lumpur dan Kedah, Faridzul Kassim, satu daya usaha yang harus dialu-alukan dalam memastikan nasib ahli sukan sesudah bersara sentiasa terbela.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Here's the list...

The top two posts will be contested in the Olympic Council of Malaysia elections on May 30 after days of speculation, hearsay, mud-slinging and rumour-mongering.

Tunku Pete, OCM president since 1998, is always willing to listen, here to Shaukei Kahar and loose cannon. Nominated by Malaysian Cricket Association. If Shahidan is adamant on challenging the incumbent, Pete might ask for the Prime Minister's intervention.

See my hands? Five...I'm president of four NSAs, No 5 will be the umbrella body OCM lah...Nominated by the de facto MAAU head honcho, Karim Ibrahim, who engineered Dr Jega's exit from the athletics body in 1995

"Eh hang namakan daughter hang siapa, Azalina kah? followed by laughter was the customary exchanging of pleasantries each time Ibrahim Saad met the loose cannon in 2005...nominated by the guys from silat and sepak takraw. He might be able to work full-time at OCM and monitor what Sieh Kok Chi does...

My achievements speak for themselves...but why is a former UMNO warlord taking me on? Perhaps this thought has crossed Dr Jega's mind. Nominated by the badminton people. Some claim the former Asian sprint king could be walking away from this fight.

Retaining their posts uncontested are vice-president for women, Low Beng Choo, who withdrew from challenging Sieh Kok Chi for the secretary's post for fear of losing all, treasurer Datuk Kee Yong Wee and his assistant Rosmanizam Abdullah.

There will be a six-cornered fight for the four vice-president's seats. The incumbents seeking another term are Prof Datuk Zakaria Ahmad (nominated by MGF) who is romantically linked to someone in OCM, Prof W.Y. Chin (proposed by snooker and billiard) and Roy Rajasingham (backed by MHF). Wanting to make a comeback is Squash Rackets Association of Malaysia's Datuk Abdullah Sani Karim while former OCM general manager M.P. Haridas was nominated by MABA. A surprise candidate is Edwin Chong, ASUM's secretary, who is linked to Sieh Kok Chi. One would have thought ASUM deputy president, Zainal Othman, a more suitable candidate from the swimming fraternity to go for VP.

Assistant secretary (male) Ramlay Ibrahim will be challenged by L. Ramesh (rugby), Hisham Mohd Noor (tenpin bowling) and Lawrence Yeow (sailing).

Latifah Tan Sri Ya'cob is contesting her old post currently held by Moira Tan.

From this 2007 line-up, four have won their seats uncontested ahead of the upcoming elections.

A niece of Tun Musa Hitam, Latifah Tan Sri Ya'cob who withdrew in 2007, is campaigning hard to regain her seat despite attempts from the other camp to disqualify her

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

For Pete's sake, release the list lah!

These are the three individuals who form the independent panel to oversee the Olympic Council of Malaysia's annual general meeting on May 30!

As a former Deputy Secretary General or in Government lingo, TKSU of the Sports Ministry and the Ministry of Energy, Telecommunications and Posts and highly experienced in sports politics, having spearheaded netball's governing body for 24 years, why can't she release the names of the candidates for the OCM elections on May 30? Sorry ah Cik Hajjah, it's been quite a while since we last argued. She is a well-known Sieh Kok Chi sympathiser

It was fun covering Adam Malik during his heyday and his father Datuk Malik Salleh who was once the Selangor State legal adviser and LTAM boss. Now president of Selangor Lawn Tennis Association.

Once the dust has settled, Stanley Charles Louis, once with Sukom'98 Berhad, can focus on ensuring the OCM sports channel is up and running on Astro by November

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Drama in OCM

As the deadline of nomination closes at 5pm on May 20, Olympic Council of Malaysia (OCM) vice-president Low Beng Choo has decided to withdraw from challenging Datuk Sieh Kok Chi for the secretary's post. The group opposing deputy president Datuk Dr M. Jegathesan, Kok Chi and Roy Rajasingham may want to put a suprise candidate!

Heard through the grapevine, president Tunku Imran Tuanku Ja'afar will be challenged by Datuk Seri Shahidan Mohd Kassim, whereas Jega is facing a straight fight with Datuk Seri Dr Ibrahim Saad.

Former hockey international M.P. Haridass, who quit as the OCM general manager last year, is eyeing the vice-presidency.

Dr Jegathesan Manickavasagam is likely to be challenged by a former Penang politician

At one time Wong Ah Jit was earmarked to challenge Sieh Kok Chi

Loose cannon among those who paid Tunku Imran Tuanku Ja'afar a visit at his OCM office in 2000
Ibrahim Saad once played goalkeeper for a club in Penang

Elyas Omar long before he lorded over Kuala Lumpur. The former Sports Commissioner can still contribute to OCM

and so does Dr Satkunanathan Ponkuchamy who is eligible for any post, having been a great servant of bowling

as well as Velappan Palaniappan who served as assistant secretary of the FAM before becoming a senior official at the Sports Ministry in the 1970s

Shahidan Mohd Kassim is president of numerous NSAs

Low Beng Choo's decision to withdraw from challenging Kok Chi has disappointed a lot of people

Sieh Kok @ Kou Chi may continue to serve another term