Saturday, May 31, 2008

The brute strength of Les Bleus

In an earlier posting, I paid tribute to Karim Benzema, one of very few French players to score a goal on his international debut.

Three who did went on to become legends, namely Just Fontaine, Michel Platini and Zinedine Zidane.

Bafetimbi Gomis may be destined for greatness as well. Like Zidane who scored two goals - a stunning strike in the 85th and a header two minutes later - after coming in as a substitute against Republic Czech in August 1994, Gomis got his name on the scoresheet twice against Ecuador three days ago.

Raymond Domenech has the luxury of picking a few combinations - Benzema-Anelka, Benzema-Henry, Benzema-Gomis, Anelka-Henry, Anelka-Gomis and Henry-Gomis, or try to accomodate Henry on the left with Anelka and Benzema in the middle, surely a scary thought for opposing defence.

They combine speed, brute force and technique with finishing prowess. The Dutch, the Italians and the Romanians will have their hands full no doubt! Allez Les Bleus!

Picture shows Gomis celebrating his goal. No place for the left-footed trickery of Hatem Ben Arfa (background) though.

An open letter to my brother-in-law

Dear Azam,

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.

Yours sincerely,

Your bro-in-law,

Rizal Hashim.

Come on lah YB

Saya terkejut dengan tindakan Menteri Belia dan Sukan Datuk Ismail Sabri Yaakob mencabar Pengerusi SIC Datuk Mokhzani Mahathir untuk meletak jawatan.

Ini sesudah YB Bera itu memulaukan majlis pelancaran Super GT Antarabangsa Malaysia anjuran SIC yang diadakan di Kementerian Belia dan Sukan kerana kebetulan mempengerusikan mesyuarat pasca-Kabinet kementeriannya di bangunan sama.

Inilah akibatnya kalau kita campur-adukkan politik dengan sukan. Bagi saya, kita harus give due respect to the chair, tanpa mengira fahaman politik, keturunan dan agama!

Saya cadangkan kepada YB Bera supaya interviu semua presiden persatuan sukan kebangsaan di Malaysia dan tanya sama ada mereka menyokong Perdana Menteri atau tidak. Kalau kebanyakannya jawab tidak, adakah YB Bera akan memulau semua program mereka?

I read with utter disgust that the Sports Minister had asked Datuk Mokhzani Mahathir to resign as Sepang International Circuit (SIC) chairman yesterday, citing the post as a government appointment.

"The post belongs to the government. As he (Mokhzani) had left Umno, in principle, he had to relinguish the position," said Ismail Sabri, citing SIC as a subsidiary of Malaysia Airport Holdings Berhad (MAHB) which is controlled by the government through Khazanah Holdings, as reported by Bernama

Ismail Sabri even boycotted the launching ceremony of the Malaysian International Super GT held at his ministry, where he was chairing a post-cabinet meeting of his ministry in the same building.

Asked why he did not attend the ceremony, he said, "In principle when he (Mokhzani) left Umno because he no longer has faith in the Prime Minister's (Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi) leadership, he is also not confident of me as a minister appointed by the Prime Minister.

To me no class lah!

I suggest YB Bera go and have a heart-to-heart chat with presidents of the NSAs. I believe some of them are politicians, while most are apolitical. What if they profess their loyalty to DAP, PKR or Pakatan Rakyat? Will YB Bera boycott all their programmes as well?

Sunday, May 25, 2008

Pow-wow at Istana


The Sultan stood his ground this morning. Flanked by general secretary Lt Jen (B) Datuk Azzuddin Ahmad, exco members Datuk Aziz Abdul Rahman and Datuk Raja Ahmad Zainuddin Raja Omar, FA of Malaysia president Sultan Haji Ahmad Shah said the national body is sticking to their guns.

Sports Minister Datuk Ismail Sabri Yaakob's immediate concern is to recoup the RM8 million paid to promoter Gifted Group Limited.

Original posting

Sports Minister, YB Datuk Ismail Sabri Yaakob, is meeting His Royal Highness Sultan Haji Ahmad Shah, the FA of Malaysia (FAM) president, at the Istana Pahang in Kuala Lumpur tomorrow morning. A press conference is scheduled at 10.0am.

YB Bera will have a tough time persuading the Sultan to change his mind and give his royal blessings to the Champions Youth Cup (CYC).

As it stands, the Sultan is not likely to give in. Unless YB Bera can promise something in return for FAM's blessings of the CYC.

If I were in YB Bera's shoes, I would suggest to Tuanku that in return for FAM's sanction, KBS fully commit a certain sum of money to help develop the game at all levels. Promise to Tuanku that this year's edition is the last we hear of CYC and the money for staging rights be channelled to FAM and its affiliates and help expose the national team to overseas tournaments.

YB Bera will have to master the art of delicate diplomacy in the sports fraternity. Or YB Bera has the option of arm-twisting FAM in a very subtle way.

Since FAM has been funded by NSC, an agency under KBS, the Ministry can issue an ultimatum that if FAM does not sanction the CYC, all forms of financial assistance be withdrawn.

But I doubt this will be the route taken by YB Bera because given the present scenario, the rakyat are not happy that KBS had splurged RM17 on staging rights alone and another RM8 million to the promoter this year.

The rakyat are behind Tuanku in this particular issue. Daulat Tuanku.

From my personal perspective, I feel the real culprit is being let off scot free. And that's a shame.

A gift for Gifted

Gifted Malaysia, the local partners of London-based Gifted Group Limited who is also the promoter of the controversial Champions Youth Cup, has been served a notice of eviction by the Stadium Board.

I remember Gifted Malaysia as having two small rooms for their office located at the National Stadium (picture courtesy of in Bukit Jalil. That was where I visited Datuk Phan shortly after the launch in March last year.

I don't understand why do we have to resort to this kind of action.

If one studies the chronology of events, the ones who must shoulder the blame are either the Cabinet Committee on Sports Development, the Ministers involved or the top officials. None of them can explain to the Press or the rakyat on the need to have CYC. Either they themselves cannot justify it or they are in dire need of spin doctors!

None of them could really explain why the FA of Malaysia were not consulted all along.

The Sports Commissioner Datuk Nik Mahmud Nik Yusof, who was the joint chairman of the CYC tourney, is keeping mum. That's not really a surprise because I don't agree with his appointment in the first place!

If I were Gifted, I would smile, walk, laugh and run all the way to the bank. In the meantime Gifted Malaysia can relocate. Try the Tourism Ministry.

Care to tell us?

Gifted Group chairman Jonathan Price is a gentleman. Despite my constant criticism of the CYC, he told me I was entitled to question or criticise because it was my job.

As a continuation to my previous entry on CYC, consider these:

1. Gifted has refused to involve FAM in any way but dealt directly with AFC, a body that is allergic to Government intervention. For an international tournament to be organised in any coutry, the game's governing body must issue the sanctions. It must be involved in the technical aspects, namely in providing technical personnel such as match officials, match, venue and general co-ordinators, referees' assessors and the like.

2. Why did FAM sanction CYC last year? My understanding is that it was a quid pro quo situation. NSC was funding FAM and FAM had no choice but to allow CYC to be organised. Ibrahim Saad's hands were tied. But I'm not too sure if the FAM exco were told of the circumstances!

3. AFC cannot be dealing directly with Gifted. CYC is not an AFC tournament like the Asian Youth Championship, the AFC Champions League or the AFC Cup where the host country is compelled to work for AFC or subservient to the continental governing body. CYC was mooted by someone with an ulterior motive, not so much on developing football in Malaysia!

4. Why did Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Mohd Najib Tun Razak, Sports Minister Datuk Seri Azalina Othman Said pay AFC president Mohamed Hammam a courtesy call shortly after the Manchester United no-go issue? It is well documented that AFC and FIFA abhor Government intervention yet they seem to be chummy chummy with the powers that be! I heard that the Government delegation received expensive gifts each! No FAM officials were there. Funny. Very funny.

5. Out of curiousity, someone must tell me why did AFC appoint former Minister of Finance, Tun Daim Zainuddin, as chairman of its internal audit committee? Tun Daim had a chance to do something to help football last time, why is he now in AFC?

6. Is it true Najib's office forced Azalina to take up the CYC project or Azalina forced the issue down FAM's throats upon advice from certain quarters?

7. Is it true AFC is sore with FAM because the latter employed Haji Saifuddin Abu Bakar as assistant general secretary and Kelly Sathiraj as head of competitions recently? For the record both left AFC in a huff just prior to the AFC Asian Cup last year.

8. In the inaugural CYC last year, Gifted spent RM2 million to bring its own technical team, leaving FAM to provide match officials and referees' assessors only.

9. The local partner Datuk Phan formerly from Dunhill was tasked with a projected RM9 million ticket sales but in return earned only RM400,000. Where is Datuk Phan now?

Shall I wait for mercenary machais like tepakbersulam to reply?

I was invited as a panellist on TV1 on Saturday, where I went on record saying the powers that be did not respect the institutions related to the game with regard to the CYC controversy. I wish I had more air time! Look at the above picture. Can the Tourism Minister juggle and wiggle her way out of this?

Saturday, May 24, 2008

Aku di kaca TV

Aku muncul di kaca TV siang tadi, menerusi rancangan Fokus Bola di TV1.

Perantaranya siapa lagi kalau tidak Haji Zainal Abidin Rawop, manakala aku diapit bekas penyerang kebangsaan, Haji Azlan Johar.

Antara tajuk yang disentuh sudah tentu Champions Youth Cup (CYC) dan kenyataan daripada DYMM Sultan Pahang, Sultan Haji Ahmad Shah (gambar), yang tidak memberi restu kepada CYC.

Selaku antara yang paling awal menentang kewujudan pertandingan semahal ini, iaitu RM17 juta untuk hak penganjuran saja, aku mengulangi pendirian aku sambil menyalahkan peneraju Kementerian Belia dan Sukan yang terdahulu.

"Kemelut ini berpunca daripada pihak yang tidak menghormati institusi-institusi di negara ini. Dalam hal ini KBS tidak menghormati FAM selaku persatuan kebangsaan yang mengawal selia kegiatan bola sepak tempatan.

"Saya antara wartawan yang mempertikai tindakan KBS membawa kejohanan ini. Apabila ia dilancarkan tahun lepas, saya mengajukan soalan kepada YB Menteri Belia dan Sukan ketika itu kenapa kita harus membayar harga yang mahal untuk membawa pasukan-pasukan ini.

"Mereka menjual idea kononnya sebagai balasan pemain muda kita mendapat peluang berlatih di luar negara, umpamanya dua pemain di Chelsea, Bunyamin Umar dan Baddrol Bakhtiar. Tapi kita dapati pemergian mereka ditaja oleh MSN, bukan promoter.

"Kita harus maklum perjanjian yang ditandatangani adalah di antara KBS dan promoter Gifted Group Ltd. Perbincangan saya dengan bekas setiausaha agung FAM Datuk Seri Ibrahim Saad juga menunjukkan bahawa FAM memberi kelulusan terhadap CYC kerana tit-for-tat atas alasan KBS menerusi MSN menyalur dana kepada FAM.

"Masalah ini adalah masalah FAM dan KBS, bukan Gifted kerana sebagai promoter mereka menjalankan perniagaan."

Ringkasnya, aku menyalahkan KBS. Bukan Menteri sekarang tapi Menteri terdahulu lah.

Aku bersimpati terhadap Menteri Belia dan Sukan hari ini. YB Bera tidak sepatutnya menanggung masalah ini. Inilah orang putih kata, "he's paying for the sins of his predecessor."

Bagi mereka yang menganggap kenapa baru sekarang FAM menyuarakan bantahan, ceritanya begini:

1. Gifted tidak mahu menggunakan bantuan teknikal FAM, sebaliknya berurusan terus dengan Gabungan Bola Sepak Asia (AFC). Dalam mana-mana kejohanan antarabangsa yang diadakan di Malaysia, FAM selaku governing body harus terbabit secara langsung dalam menyediakan sokongan teknikal, umpamanya match co-ordinator, general co-ordinator, venue co-ordinator, pegawai perlawanan, pengadil dan referees' assessor. Memandangkan FAM langsung tidak terbabit, bagaimana mungkin ia meluluskan kejohanan berkenaan?

2. Jika kita hendak mengadakan kenduri di rumah sahabat kita, adakah wajar kita berurusan dengan ibu (KBS) atau bapa (KBS) atau datuk (FIFA) sahabat kita? Sudah tentu ia harus mendapat restu sahabat kita lah, bukan?

3. Kenapa FAM memberi restu kejohanan ini tahun lepas? Cerita dalamannya menyebut bahawa FAM terpaksa berbuat demikian kerana MSN menyalurkan bantuan kewangan. Maknanya tangan Ibrahim Saad terikat. Kesilapan Ibrahim Saad ialah beliau tidak memaklumkan perkara ini kepada exco FAM dan Tuanku Presiden.

4. Kenapa AFC boleh berurusan terus dengan Gifted? CYC bukan kejohanan AFC, sebaliknya sekadar satu idea entah daripada siapa! Siapa yang untung?

5. Kenapa Timbalan Perdana Menteri Datuk Seri Mohd Najib Tun Razak dan Azalina Othman Said melawat AFC tahun lepas tidak lama selepas kemelut Manchester United dan CYC, sedangkan kita tahu AFC dan FIFA amnya rimas dengan campur tangan mana-mana kerajaan!

6. Kenapa AFC melantik bekas Menteri Kewangan, Tun Daim Zainuddin, sebagai pengerusi jawatankuasa audit dalamannya?

7. Benarkah Najib yang mengarahkan Azalina supaya menerima projek CYC ini, ataupun ia sebenarnya idea penasihat-penasihat Azalina yang kononnya pakar dalam arena sukan?

8. Kaji latar belakang setiausaha agung FAM, Lt Jen (B) Datuk Azzuddin Ahmad. Tidak seperti politikus Ibrahim Saad yang sudah tentu bertindak secara populist, Azzuddin dikenali sebagai seorang yang cukup particular. Setiap resit perbelanjaan disimpan.

9. Kenapa FAM dan AFC tidak sependapat dalam banyak hal? Kenapa penolong setiausaha agung FAM, Haji Saifuddin Abu Bakar dan ketua jabatan pertandingan FAM, Kelly Sathiraj, meninggalkan AFC tahun lalu, hanya beberapa hari sebelum Piala Asia diadakan?

10. Kita juga harus ingat presiden AFC, Mohamed Hammam, menggantikan Baginda Tuanku Sultan Pahang selaku presiden gabungan itu pada 2002.

11. Tahun lalu Gifted membelanjakan RM2 juta untuk membawa pakar teknikalnya sendiri. FAM hanya menyediakan pengadil, penolong pengadil dan referees' assessor.

Apahal? Barangkali macai-macai macam tepakbersulam boleh jawab?

CYC and I part 3

Bernama has this report

FAM Doesn't Recognise CYC

KUANTAN, May 23 (Bernama) -- The Football Association of Malaysia (FAM) does not recognise the Champions Youth Cup (CYC) championship in August and considers the RM17 million allocation for the promoter as a waste.

FAM president Sultan Ahmad Shah said the country's football governing body still disapproved of the action by the promoter, Gifted Group Limited (GGL), in pushing it aside despite having received an official explanation from GGL.

"We won't allow them. I am the president... I don't know if there is another president," he told reporters after presenting the Pahang flag to the state contingent to the Malaysia Games (Sukma) here Friday.

Any parties wishing to host football matches in Malaysia need to get the FAM's consent, he said.

The Sultan of Pahang said he was puzzled how the RM17 million allocation could easily be channelled by the Youth and Sports Ministry.

"This thing cannot be made rashly without consulting the FAM to get the approval for the hosting right," he said.

"I don't know how the money can be given easily... if it's given to the FAM, it can do loads," he said.

The issue came to the fore after GGL accepted an offer from the Asian Football Confederation (AFC) to host the championship, hence sidelining the FAM.

Following this, Youth and Sports Minister Datuk Ismail Sabri Yaakob said the ministry would look back at the contract it had signed with GGL to see whether it could be cancelled.

The under-19 championship, held for the first time in Malaysia last year, has drawn the interest of 16 teams including Malaysia and defending champions Manchester United.

It is supposed to be held in several states from Aug 5 to 16.

Well, I stand vindicated. If only the powers that be had listened to what the Press said about CYC last year, this fiasco would not have taken place!

CYC and I part 2

On Friday, March 16, 2007, the Champions Youth Cup was launched at the posh Mandarin Oriental Hotel.

After exchanging pleasantries with a few people, I saw Citizen Nades loitering around, outside the room where the launch was about to be held. Aha, the big man is here!

On stage were of course Sports Minister Datuk Azalina Othman Said, Gifted Group Ltd chairman, Jonathan Price, FA of Malaysia general secretary Datuk Seri Ibrahim Saad and Sports Ministry's Secretary General, Datuk Yasin Salleh.

Among the VIPs in attendance were Tan Sri Elyas Omar, Datuk Zolkples Embong, Datuk Dr Ramlan Abdul Aziz and Khairy Jamaluddin, at that time yet to be called a YB.

When the floor was opened to questions, I remember only four stood up to pose queries, Berita Harian's Khawari, Chris from RTM, Citizen Nades, and I. This was the PC in which Azalina challenged Nades to stand for elections.

I stood up asking Azalina to confirm Malay Mail's report the day before.

Tony Mariadass, my ex-boss but now a special officer for Azalina, quickly went on stage armed with a file.

I was anxiously waiting for her reply. If she denies it, there goes my credibility and my story. As it turned out, she confirmed it! Thereon Khawari, Nades and I had a field day, debating with the legal eagle called Azalina on the need to pay RM17 million for staging rights alone!

Each time we posed a question, Khairy, seated in front facing the stage, would turn and look at the inquisitor!

THE price the Youth and Sports Ministry and the Tourism Ministry have to pay for the hosting rights of the Champions Youth Cup (CYC) involving teams from some of the best known clubs in Europe may balloon up to STG7.5 million (RM51 million).
A three-year deal was inked last November between the Sports Ministry and the promoter of the tournament, Gifted Group Limited, valued at STG2.5 million (RM17 million) per edition.
Chairman of Gifted, Jonathan Price, in confirming that payment for the inaugural edition in August 2007 would be paid over four instalments, said the Ministry have the option of terminating the contract after a year.
"We signed a three-year agreement in November and there is a clause in the agreement which stipulates that each party has the right at any time to terminate the contract," said Price after the launch of CYC in Kuala Lumpur on Friday.
Mailsport broke the story on Thursday that RM17 million was being spent to stage the CYC, the most expensive football tournament in our history from Aug 5-19.
One of football's foremost leaders in the 1980s, Datuk Paduka Ahmad Basri Mohd Akil, objected to the tournament, pointing out that the money could be channeled for development at grassroots and the academies.
Former international Syed Ahmad Abu Bakar, who obliterated South Korea and Japan en route to earning Malaysia a place in the 1972 Olympic Games, said the money could have been spent to reinvent the Merdeka Tournament to coincide with the 50th Merdeka celebrations.
"If things were planned properly, it would have been a walk down memory lane if the Government had decided to rebrand the Merdeka Tournament by inviting South Korea and Japan, our perennial rivals those days, or renowned clubs from Europe, repackage it and market it like never before," said Syed Ahmad.
Saddened by the lacklustre domestic competition, Syed Ahmad said the Government should have pumped more money to raise the standard of the M-League in order for it to enjoy a bigger media profile.
"One way of promoting Malaysia through football is by having a strong domestic league. We will then be able to attract the big names to ply their trade here. The Qatari league was suddenly thrown into the limelight after players like Romario, Gabriel Batistuta, Jay Jay Okocha and Marcel Desailly were lured to Doha.
"The impact would be tremendous," said the former Perak, Penang and Johor striker.
The CYC launch on Friday was officiated by Sports Minister Datuk Azalina Othman Said who confirmed the STG2.5 million (RM17 million) was paid to Gifted as the hosting rights of the tournament.
"The joint committee of Youth and Sports Ministry and Tourism Ministry had agreed to bid for the tournament and the expenses are equally shared by both Ministries. The proposal was endorsed by the Cabinet Committee for Sports Development," said Azalina.
"I understand sports journalists like to look at things from the development point of view, but please view the bigger picture and the benefits it brings to tourism in this country."
Earlier, Azalina launched the tournament which will feature the Under-19 teams from 14 of the world's great football clubs, among others, AC Milan, Ajax Amsterdam, Arsenal, Chelsea, Flamengo, Boca Juniors, Bayern Munich and Manchester United. The Malaysian and Qatari Under-19 teams complete the 16-team tournament.
The organisational procedure of the tournament, however, remains sketchy.
First, Price confirmed they have yet to obtain sanction from Fifa.
"We are required to apply for sanction eight weeks prior to the tournament," said Price.
Secondly, the proposed stint with Arsenal is not concrete despite the commitment by G-14 chairman, David Dein, who is also the vice-chairman of the Gunners.

CYC and I part 1

The moment I got hold of a copy of a contract between the Sports Ministry and football promoter Gifted Group Ltd sometime last year, I knew I had a big story on my lap.

A few days before the Champions Youth Cup tournament was officially launched, I was told the promoter had a media briefing for a selected few. Details were only allowed to be published after the launch.

In keeping with my reputation as a shit-stirrer, I decided to pre-empt things. That same night after the embargo was issued, I placed a call to Jonathan Price (JP), chairman of Gifted Group.

Me: "Hi, Mr Price. I'm a journalist with the Malay Mail. We've come to know that the Government is spending RM17 million to bring your tournament to Kuala Lumpur.

JP: "What time is it? No I would not want to comment or say anything. It's almost midnight."

Me: "Yes, I must apologise but just to inform you, we will be running a story on this. We are questioning the wisdom behind the decision to spend so much to bring unknown youths to this country."

To his credit, Price did not slam down the phone on me. But he sure was dismayed.

In the office, I discussed the issue with sports editor Mustapha Kamaruddin, or simply Moose, and sub-editor Graig Nunis.

Moose: "Alamak, ini projek siapa? Azalina lagi kah?

Me: "Whoever is behind it, it has gotten Azalina's approval. Look at this agreement (while showing it to Moose). It's between the Ministry and Gifted."

Graig: "Let's go to town with it."

Moose: "OK, let's go backpage."

So on March 15, 2007, the backpage of the Malay Mail carried this report, under the headline Money well spent? For the record, the first two papers to question the Ministry on this issue were Berita Harian and the Malay Mail. Credit is due to Ahmad Khawari Isa as well. Then only the others joined the fun.

A MASSIVE RM17 million, that's the conservative estimation for the
Malaysian Government to stage the most expensive football tournament in
our history sometime in August.
It's called the Champions Youth Cup (CYC), an invitational tournament
which is said to serve as a leverage for the national youth teams to hone
their skills in places like Arsenal.
A deal between the Sports Ministry and a London-based sports promotion
company was inked recently to fly in the youth teams of Inter Milan,
Chelsea, Arsenal, Barcelona and Lyon, among others, to the five venues
identified - Malacca, Kuala Lumpur, Kuching, Alor Star and Kuantan - for
the tournament to be held in conjunction with Visit Malaysia Year 2007
and Malaysia's 50th Merdeka celebrations.
A draft of the agreement which required the Sports Ministry to pay the
promoter as much as RM17 million over four instalments, was made
available to Mailsport.
A media briefing held by the company for a selected few was held last
night and representatives of the various media houses (Mailsport were not
invited) were told to adhere to an embargo ahead of the official launch
at a hotel near KLCC tomorrow.
The major shareholder of the company is based at Onslow Gardens,
London, while the minority shareholder's address can be traced to
Guernsey, Channel Islands, a place where Les Miserables writer Victor
Hugo once called home.
It is not known whether the proposed stint at Arsenal, which was
announced by Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Mohd Najib Razak last
month, is part of the agreement.
Sports Ministry officials, when contacted, declined to comment.
Sources, however, said it was better not to pre-empt the conference.
"There will be an announcement on the Arsenal issue on Friday," said a
Tomorrow's launch is a highly anticipated one as the National Sports
Council (NSC) director-general Datuk Dr Ramlan Abdul Aziz, who had been
grilled over the Arsenal issue, is expected to disclose details
pertaining to the proposed stint in London.
Sports Minister, Datuk Azalina Othman Said, is expected to grace the
According to the agreement, the tournament will consist of 16 teams
made up of 10 G-14 teams, four teams from South America, a host team and
another guest team.
It is learnt that there will be no cash prizes only a trophy to be
presented to the winners.
The companies are said to be negotiating for a few illustrious names to
travel to Kuala Lumpur to conduct coaching clinics as supporting
programmes ahead of the tournament.
However, following Najib's announcement on the proposed stint, it
emerged no formal discussion had been held between the Ministry and
This was confirmed through an e-mail response from the communications
department of Arsenal to Mailsport.
Upon further checks, Mailsport discovered the only discussion on the
subject was held at Arsenal's state-of-the-art training centre in
Hertfordshire, between a five-man recce team from Kuala Lumpur and the
centre manager, Sean O'Connor, just before the Cabinet Committee on
Sports Development's announcement on the proposed stint on Feb 8.
FA of Malaysia (FAM) general secretary Datuk Seri Dr Ibrahim Saad said
the arrangement was mooted because of the centre's proximity with the Tun
Abdul Razak Research Centre in Bricken-donbury, which will be converted
into a high-performance training centre.
Apart from Ibrahim, completing the five-man team were Dr Ramlan, NSC
board member Philip Chan and NSC officials, Mej Muhammad Abdul Rani and
David Chiam.
Dr Ramlan was quoted by New Straits Times on Feb 9 as saying the
English Premiership giant had agreed in principle to the project.
An independent website on the Olympic Games 2012, insidethegames. com,
claimed the idea was shrouded in mystery.
It can be accessed at www.insidethegames. com/php/free_newsletters.php,
while a newspaper, Hertfordshire Mercury, in their issue dated Feb 16,
claimed the 13-time English champions had no knowledge of the agreement.
"We have no knowledge of this training camp or these proposals. I can
categorically say that we have not been approached by the Malaysian
Government," an Arsenal spokesman told the paper.
The online report is available at

Thursday, May 22, 2008

This is a must read!

To all sports buffs out there, get a copy of this encyclopedia published by renowned publisher Edition Didier Millet (EDM).

Click on to

It is Volume 16 of the Encyclopedia of Malaysia series published by EDM. The Yang di-Pertuan Agong Tuanku Mizan Zainal Abidin, an avid sportsman himself, is scheduled to officiate the launching of the book on June 18.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Manyoo lah

As much as I love to take a dig at ManYoo and their fans, I think I have to congratulate them, especially Datuk Dell Akbar Khan, Datuk Yap Nyim Keong, Datuk Zolkples Embong, Datuk Ahmad A Talib, Datuk Seri Hilmi Ismail, YB Khairy Jamaluddin, Datuk Farid Ridzuan, Saudara Abdul Rahman Ahmad and Lawrence How (just to name a few Devils) in advance.

Fergie will lift the Ol Big Ears for a second time in Moskva early tomorrow morning.

Sorry Husin Rahman (former New Straits Times journo and avid Chelsea fan since the days of Charlie Cooke and Peter Osgood), it's United's Cup. I don't have to touch on the technical and tactical stuff since the experts are all out there.

How I wish I was in Moskva again...15 years after. Not to watch the match but to shop for remnants of the Soviet legacy at the sprawling flea market at Ismailovskaya!

Monday, May 19, 2008

Jakarta oh Jakarta

JANTUNGKU berdegup kencang. Bahang di bilik kecil di Istora Senayan sehangat api.
Aku bersama-sama pasukan negara beserta pegawai-pegawai tertinggi Persatuan Badminton Malaysia terperangkap di tengah-tengah bangunan itu.

Peristiwa yang berlaku lebih 14 tahun lalu masih segar-bugar dalam ingatan. Bagaimana harus kulupakan? Dalam penampilan sulungku di luar negara selaku wartawan sukan, aku berdepan dengan kekacauan penonton.

Hampir dua jam kami terperangkap dalam bilik rehat itu. "Tunggu keadaan reda" nasihat pakar motivasi Rahim Dahalan, lebih dikenali dengan jolokan Rahim King, melihatkan aku terpinga-pinga.

Sambil itu, penonton mengetuk pintu dan menghentam cermin serta melemparkan kata-
kata kesat ke arah pemain negara.

Datuk Abdullah Fadzil Che Wan, Datuk Punch Gunalan, Rashid Sidek, Yap Kim Hock-Tan Kim Her serta beberapa wartawan lain menampakkan riak kerisauan masing-masing.

Sebelum itu, penonton melemparkan botol plastik ke arah pemain dan pegawai Malaysia, mengakibatkan sisa dua perlawanan berikutnya tidak dapat dilanjutkan, seterusnya Indonesia diisytiharkan menang kerana sudah mendahului 3-0.

Insiden tercetus apabila sebelum pertandingan bermula, pemain dan pegawai Malaysia
yang keluar dari bilik persalinan menuju ke gelanggang dilempar dengan
botol plastik berisi air, kayu dan ludah. Ada juga yang terkena hingus yang diisi dalam tisu.

Kononnya ada pegawai pertahanan dari Kedutaan Malaysia yang mengiringi pemain dan pegawai negara pada perlawanan akhir menyebut pengadil kejohanan Roger Johansson (gambar) serta beberapa pegawai lain ada mencadangkan supaya Malaysia membatalkan permainan berdasarkan perlakuan tidak senonoh penonton itu.

Bagaimanapun, Punch Gunalan, yang terkenal dengan jambul rambutnya, mahukan pemain meneruskan perlawanan akhir.

Mujurlah keputusan perlawanan memihak kepada tuan rumah. Jikalah ditakdirkan Malaysia menang, aku tidak dapat membayangkannya.

Namun aku percaya aku tidak akan diapa-apakan kerana rupaku saling tak tumpah orang Indon. Ditakdirkan aku terlepas keluar, aku hanya perlu ngobrol dan menyebut mie bakso, es teler dan macet!

Itulah antara kenanganku sepanjang membuat liputan tiga kejohanan Piala Thomas, di Jakarta94, Hong Kong 1998 dan Kuala Lumpur 2000.

What an eventful week...

THE Malaysian football team winning against a side with pedigree, the badminton squad losing in the Thomas Cup semi-finals and the national hockey team ended their campaign in the Sultan Azlan Shah trophy as wooden spoonists.

Is there something amiss? Aha...B. Sathianathan's men performed quite creditably against Iraq in the ongoing Intercontinental Cup for the Under-23s. Safee Sali's scissors kick was hard to forget. Trouble is Iraq are represented by their Under-19 side.

What else can we say about the badminton team?

We lack depth, simple. As long as the pool of players is as the same as the number of passengers that can occupy my Iswara, we will keep on clinging on to the memories of the 1992 Cup-winning squad.

Speaking of which, we shall offer our prayers to former Sports Commissioner and BA of Malaysia president, Tan Sri Elyas Omar, who will be undergoing a bypass surgery at IJN on Tuesday.

The team of surgeons will be headed by Datuk Dr B. Venugopal, the same specialist who performed the bypass on two former athletes - Datuk Punch Gunalan (badminton) and Syed Ahmad Abu Bakar (football).

Dr Venugopal is the IJN Consultant Cardiothoracic Surgeon.

Punch's days as the de facto supremo of Badminton World Federation are gone. On Saturday, there was a vote of no confidence on the world body’s deputy president during a controversial Annual General Meeting (AGM) in Jakarta, which went on for eight-and-half hours.

The Mongolian (why Mongolia) Badminton Association had proposed the vote of no confidence and after a secret ballot, a total of 142 members voted for the resolution while 38 were against.

The Mongolian BA, when tabling the resolution, stated that the rationale behind the vote was due to the fact that Gunalan was “not at all interested in the welfare of the BWF but only interested in usurping the powers of the president ... that the deputy president has and is using the council to show his personal dislike of the president. And this was narrated in an e-mail to the members on the president’s character.”

We hope the surgery goes well for Tan Sri Elyas. We pray for his speedy recovery. All the stress of working under a minister like Datuk Seri Azalina Othman Said must have taken its toll on Tan Sri's heart.

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Koo-Tan and Nicol take top honours

DOUBLES specialists Koo Kien Keat-Tan Boon Heong were crowned the 2007 National Sportsmen of the Year just a short while ago, while Nicol Ann David took the top honours in the women's category.

While it was Koo-Tan's maiden title, Nicol is a veteran at this sort of thing, having won on four previous occasions. The ceremony was held at the Palace of Golden Horses.

Monday, May 12, 2008

The class of Benz

Thierry Henry did not score on his international debut. Neither did David Trezeguet nor Nicolas Anelka. But Karim Benzema (picture) who picked up the French Player of the Year award just hours ago, did.

Just like three of France's mega maestros in recent years - Michel Platini (against Czechoslovakia in 1976), Eric Cantona (Germany in 1987) and Zinedine Zidane (Czech Republic in 1994).

Benzema, who models his game after Ronaldo, netted the solitary goal against Austria last year, off a free-kick from Samir Nasri.

But Just Fontaine did better. He bagged a hattrick on his debut against Luxembourg in 1953.

Only time will tell whether Karimaldo, who like the aforementioned names share one thing in common - a migrant background - can leave an indelible mark on the global scene.

PARIS (AFP) — Lyon striker Karim Benzema has picked up the award of France's Player of the Year awarded by his fellow professionals accepting the trophy from former winner Zinedine Zidane.

The 20-year-old French international has played 35 league games for the reigning champions this year with one match remaining next weekend to decide the title between Lyon and Bordeaux and four games in the Champions League.

He has scored a total of 23 goals total from both competitions and will be one of the key players for his country at next month's Euro 2008 Championships in Austria and Switzerland.

"I never dreamt I would win this trophy, but I am absolutely delighted," he said.

"What matters most though is scoring for the club's sake and our target is to win the league and cup double for Lyon for the first time in the club's history."

Lyon play Paris St Germain in the French Cup final at the Stade de France, Paris on May 28.

Benzema has been attracting interest from several bigger European sides including Manchester United, but he said after accepting the award that he was certain he would still be with Lyon next season.

ManYoo lagi...

Surely we did not expect Wigan to come up with a miracle.

Congratulations to Manchester United and their band of handful faithful. Ten titles under Fergie, wow. And even if Chelsea had beaten Bolton, which they failed, the Blues would still be singing the blues based on goal difference.

Somehow I think they have another huge celebration in Moscow on May 22 (Malaysian time).

As long as there are Frenchmen in the squad, that will do for me. Long live Evra (pic) and the clumsy Silvestre.

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Selamat Hari Ibu, dan Bapa

Nukilan ini agak terlewat. Ditujukan khas kepada kaum Ibu, juga Bapa. To all the mothers and fathers out there.

Mawar Putih Untuk Mama - Sharifah Aini
Kau sinaran bulan
Menyerikan bintang-bintang
Kaulah fajar yang menerbitkan pagi

Kau sirami embun
Menyegarkan pepohonan
Kau bukakan tabir siang untukku

Kau berikan mama
Kasih sayang maha suci
Betapa agungnya
Tiada ternilaikan
Oh mama, oh mamaku
Tiada cinta yang suci
Setulus cintamu

Ku suntingkan mama
Sekuntum mawar putih
Sebagai lambang kesucian cintaku

(Syed Haron Ahmad)

Ayah dan ibu (Sudirman)
Ayah dan ibu
Itulah permulaan kami
Dapat melihat bulan dan

Yang dikurniakan dari Ilahi
Ayah dan ibu, ayah dan ibu lah
Mesti dihormati

Ayah dan ibu
Wali-wali keramat
Pada mereka kita beri hormat
Bagilah tunjuk ajar dan
Supaya hidup
Supaya hidup kita akan selamat

(Khas buat ayahku Allahyarham Hashim b Mian (9/9/1937-20/12/1997) dan ibuku Allahyarhamah Rafeah Abdul Aziz (9/5/1943-31/10/1994)

Saturday, May 10, 2008

SOS for hockey?

It's great to know the Malaysian team performed their best match this season in going down 3-2 to Pakistan in the opening match of the Sultan Azlan Shah Cup.

But I'm still bothered by issues surrounding the team's failure in the recent Olympic qualifiers in Japan, especially after a letter containing allegations on the team's preparations was widely circulated.

Personally, I wish the Malaysian Hockey Federation (MHF) would respond positively to the contents of the anonymous letter. Some say it is a poison-pen letter but I reckon it warrants MHF’s attention. That’s all.

Some of the points raised…

Is it true a player is given time off on Fridays?

Is it true there’s no proper pre-match planning and motivational talk for the players?

Is it true the players have lost faith in the coaching set-up?

Is it true most players are faking injuries in order to avoid being selected for the ongoing Sultan Azlan Shah Cup?

Is it true only a few minutes were taken to analyse the video footage?

Is it true the team were asked to sleep till 11.0am on rest days and later play cricket or rounders during the Olympic qualifiers?

Here are excerpts of the letter (unedited):

* Rebut the facts of the hockey lover letter and other comments.
* What is the future of the 2009 and 2011 Qualifying under this Coaching Setup? Which is only 15 months away for the Qualifying Round for the World Cup. Same players and Coaches no chance!
* Ethics and professionalism of the Coaching Setup.
* Is Murali the best Caoch for the Juniors? The next breed of the players.
* Money Lending and Gambling activities among the Coaches and players?
* Asked each player to comment? Get it from the horse’s mouth!
* Asked some former Coaches and former players to meet TBJ and meet head-on on the contents.

The Hockey fraternity is already foreseen the Game of Hockey is gone to the graves after reading all the comments and is even worse to hear from the national players that all the information are true. This is sad.

What is NSC doing? They say they cannot interfere in the Coaching line up, but can agree to the payment. Doesn’t make sense. Is like somebody decide to buy a thing and the thing is paid by somebody even without knowing the characteristic or qualification of the thing that is bought. Is a crazy world!

Why can’t NSC make or take some initiative on this matter. Is NSC official is also involved in the friendship policy. But many have agreed that a former international who misses goal is now working at NSC. Apparently, he is being a full-blooded supporter of these arrogants. He is also involved indirectly with the failure. For sure, his conscious agrees that all these arrogants have massacred the game of hockey but staying as a hearing-impaired. There will be a Judgment of God soon on all these kind of personalities.

Have MHF submitted the POST-MORTEM REPORT to NSC?

Heard the Arrogants have met the above-mentioned NSC official for few times at the MHF office on how to assist these arrogants to prepare the report to NSC. An insider has said that few meetings whether formal or informal have taken place on how and the best way to write the report so that MHF and NSC could get of this problem amicably.

Where is the justice? We hope the hand of Justice of NSC and all the Affiliates of MHF to get things done accordingly and save hockey before it gets decayed or kain kapan in Malay!!!

There should be a forum by all interested parties - MHF, NSC, Coaching Chairman, Former Coaches, Former Players and Media on this matter and the post-mortem details.

Let sit down – no personal attack and don’t blame anybody. Just think about the way forward.

Hand of Justice – MHF & Affiliates and NSC Please save the Game of Hockey.

Friday, May 9, 2008

A milestone for Sathia

National football chief coach B. Sathianathan is 50 today.

Kedah striker Khyril Muhymeen Zambri is 21.

My mum who passed away in 1994, would have been 65 today.

Sathianathan and I go a long way back, ever since he checked into Wisma FAM as an assistant coach in 1992, if I'm not mistaken.

Both Sathianathan and I agreed to disagree on many issues pertaining to the state of our football is in - ranging from how the team is selected, whether or not there was favouritism, the overall structure and the like.

We toured Japan to study the Japanese way in 1999, listening intently to the Japanese FA's disclosure that they had copied our development programme in 1980, and I shared his deep disappointment when Allan Harris' boys missed out on the gold medal in the 2001 SEA Games at the Shah Alam Stadium.

Sathianathan too bore witness to an incident which I'm embarrassed to recall at the Abu Dhabi International Airport in 2001.

On our way back to Kuala Lumpur after another failed mission at the pre-World Cup qualifiers in Doha, Harris and I almost came to blows after a slight misunderstanding at the airport.

I could have probably gotten a red eye if not for the quick intervention of Datuk Dell Akbar Khan and Datuk Jamaluddin Khalid, now deputy director of The Internal Security and Public Order Department.

Sathianathan needs little reminding how temperamental Harris can be. But Harris and I in general enjoyed a very cordial and professional relationship.

I liked to ask him about his days at the Nou Camp, asking him to recall the adrenaline-pumping excitement of having to deal with egostitical megastars such as Diego Maradona and Bernd Schuster or his reputation as someone who hanged on to Terry Venables' coat-tails.

When my wife was down with an illness and having had to be in and out of hospital in 2004, Harris would call me to check on her.

Sathia was surely Harris' most trusted lieutenant.

Coach, happy 50th birthday and many happy returns.

His wish?

"I want to guide Malaysia to the AFF Cup final in December," said Sathianathan who is throwing a party tonight.

Tonight is also a special occasion because his daughter Sheena Rubita Nair is getting engaged to an Aussie, Robert Duff, who bears a slight resemblance to Wayne Rooney (according to Sathia lah).

Thursday, May 8, 2008

Nice tackle, AFC


I must wonder why the Asian Football Confederation, allergic to Government intervention in line with FIFA's ideology, is rubbing shoulders with Malaysia's top leaders.

Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Mohd Najib Tun Razak paid AFC president Mohamed bin Hammam a courtesy call last year, accompanied by the then Sports Minister Datuk Seri Azalina Othman Said.

In directly conducting a meeting with AFC, Azalina performed a sliding tackle on the FA of Malaysia.

As the figurehead of sports bodies by virtue of her position, Azalina gave scant regard to FAM as guardians of the game, like the way she rammed the Champions Youth Cup down FAM's throats last year.

Now Hammam, a Qatari construction tycoon who celebrated his 59th birthday today on the same day AFC turns 54, has brought in former Cabinet minister Tun Daim Zainuddin as chairman of the AFC audit committee.

Anyway, happy birthday Mr Hammam. Many happy returns.

The story below is taken from

AFC internal audit system lauded

AFC President Mohamed Bin Hammam (L) with Tun Daim Zainuddin, Chairman of the AFC Audit Committee.

KUALA LUMPUR: Tun Daim Zainuddin, Chairman of the AFC Internal Audit Committee, has expressed his desire to contribute to the progress of Asian football, particularly in the important field of audit.

Speaking to, Tun Zainuddin, an ardent football fan, said: “I want to contribute to Asian football, particularly in audit, and I will be happy if I can help in any way possible.”

The AFC Internal Audit Committee was formed after a unanimous amendment to the AFC statutes by the 22nd AFC Congress in Kuala Lumpur in 2007 following the abolition of the Honorary Treasurer’s position.

“I have seen a presentation of the AFC internal audit system and it was good, comprehensive and my services are always available to help further this process,” said Tun Zainuddin, who was the Finance Minister of Malaysia from 1984-1991.

Tun Zainuddin, 70 and a highly respected corporate figure, heads a five-man AFC Audit Committee whose others members are President of the Kyrgyzstan Football Federation Amangeldi Muraliev, Oman Football Association President Sayyid Khaled Hamid Al Busaidi, Mongolia Football Association President Renchinnyam Amarjargal, and the President of the Philippines Football Association, Juan Mari C Martinez.

The main duties of the AFC Internal Audit Committee will be to ensure the completeness and reliability of the financial accounting and review of the external auditors’ report at the request of the Executive Committee besides establishing and maintaining effective internal control to help ensure that appropriate goals and objectives are met, resources are used effectively, economically, and are safeguarded, laws and regulations are followed, and reliable data are obtained, maintained and fairly disclosed.

The AFC Internal Audit Committee’s integrity is supported by the fact that it reports directly to the AFC Congress and members of the AFC Executive Committee are not eligible to be its members.

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

The real loose cannon

OK, OK I must admit I'm just the pseudo-loose cannon of Malaysian sports.

Go to for the real deal.

DPM a mover and shaker

In other spheres aside from politics, Malaysians do stamp an indelible mark on the global stage.

Let's celebrate Datuk Paul Mony Samuel's inclusion in the World Soccer's Top 100 movers and shakers. He's known as DPM in AFC.

In a special feature in the magazine's May edition, World Soccer editor Gavin Hamilton and renowned critic Keir Radnedge profile the most influential people in the world game, the decision-makers, power-brokers and iconic personalities whose actions influence the way we watch the game and how it is played.

Datuk Paul (picture courtesy of AFC) is at No 43. The citation reads - Succeeded Datuk Peter Velappan as general secretary of the Asian Football Confederation (AFC) in 2007. Now a key figure in the implementation of FIFA's development programmes in Asia.

Lord Seb Coe, whom I had the privilege of meeting in the flesh during the Athens Olympics four years ago, is at No 44, while Chelsea CEO, Peter Kenyon, is at No 41.

One of France's most influential figures, Lyon president Jean-Michel Aulas, is at No 45.

Only six Asians made it to the list. Besides Datuk Paul, they are Japan FA president Saburo Kawabuchi (71st), Thailand FA general secretary and FIFA executive committee member Worawi Makudi (35th), Japan FA senior vice-president Junji Ogura, FIFA vice-president Dr Chung Mong-joon of South Korea fondly known as MJ (13th), and of course AFC president Mohamed bin Hammam (third).

Guess who's on top of the list? Sepp Blatter lah!

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

YB in the dock

Haresh Deol puts YB KJ in the dock in today's MM. My only comment is that YB KJ is a deputy president, not the vice-president.

FAM has two deputy presidents, the senior DP is Datuk Redzuan Sheikh Ahmad (Perlis), and the junior one is YB KJ (Negri Sembilan but contested in FAM elections last year on Perak FA's ticket). There are four vice-presidents in FAM, namely Datuk Che Mat Jusoh (Terengganu), Afandi Hamzah (Kelantan), Ahamad Mohamad (Johor) and Datuk Gulzar Mohd Noor (Sarawak).

That little blot aside, it is a good interview.

‘Let’s skip a generation’

THESE days you can’t talk about local football without talking about Khairy Jamaluddin.

The FA of Malaysia vice-president and national team manager is a hot topic by himself.
So the charismatic MP of Rembau, widely known as just ‘KJ’, is always a compelling interview prospect for the Press.

Mailsport’s HARESH DEOL found that out last Saturday, during the interval of the KL Plus – Kuala Muda Premier League match at the Cheras Stadium.

In a terse yet forcible interview, Khairy talks about the M-League, the bookies and critics. Mailsport (MS): The MSL was formed in 2004 with the objective of raising the game’s standard. How effective has it been so far? Khairy Jamaluddin (KJ): The league has not shown much improvement.

We need to revise it. Perhaps there are simply too many matches with the leagues, the Malaysia Cup and FA Cup. It has been a little disappointing.

MS: The Super League is rather disorganised as we still don’t know how many teams will be relegated even when the season has ended.

KJ: We’ll know when the exco meeting is held on May 17. I admit it’s rather disorganised and we’ve got to look into it.

The number of teams in the Super League also needs to be addressed. A lot of other things need to be reviewed too.

MS:Would it be better to allow MSL instead of FAM to organise the league? KJ: Even if that happens, will it guarantee a raise in standard? We simply need to break everything down and start afresh.

If you asked me, perhaps we could skip a generation and concentrate on the youths. What’s the use of spending so much money at the top level when the base is not strengthened? When you get lousy players at the bottom, whatmore to expect when they reach top-flight football? I’m happy we’re working well with the Ministry of Education (through the agegroup competitions) but it’s still not enough.

We need more matches to cater for a larger pool of youngsters. It has not been encouraging so far and more needs to be done for our younger generation of players.

MS: So wouldn’t the RM17 million pumped into the Champions Youth Cup be better spent on schools? KJ: If you ask me, not as FAM vice president but as an individual, I would agree. Such money should go towards youth development.

No question about that.

(Khairy told the media earlier that the FAM are considering not sanetioning the CYC and disagree with AFC’s role in the tournament as FAM are the sport’s governing body in the country.

Also, FAM doubt the tournament is value for money.) MS: We were rocked by another match-fixing scandal. Do you think it’s time for betting to be legalised in the country? KJ: That’s for the government to decide but I don’t think it will solve the problem. There will still be illegal syndicates offering higher cuts than the legalised ones, so we’ll be back to square one.

MS: You started off with MyTeam. Today, you’re the Vice-President of FAM.

Is the SportsMinistry your next destination? KJ: No la! Nothing of that sort. I’m just looking at football for now.

MS: You seem to have many critics, from coffee shop patrons to the blogsphere.

Any comments? KJ: You’re talking about football or in general? (smiles) Either way, it’s what I do that matters. It’s all about results at the end of the day.

Azalina, Malaysian Today and I, episode 2

Feb 8, 2005. Old KBS office in KL.

The Press conference conducted by Datuk Seri Azalina Othman Said was packed to the rafters.

Biasalah, Menteri yang buat mesti penuh. Penuh dengan pegawai-pegawai, penyokong-penyokong, kaki-kaki ampu.

It was held to announce the Everton FC-Rakan Muda coaching clinic.

After the pleasantries in true Malaysian style and the details of the clinic were revealed to the Press, the floor was opened to questions.

Questions posed were initially restricted to the Everton-Rakan Muda announcement, until I asked the Honourable Minister:

"Boleh Datuk sahkan bahawa MSN akan menaja akhbar Malaysian Today sebanyak RM400,000 sebulan?"

Azalina: "Kita belum membuat apa-apa bayaran. Ia sebenarnya bayaran untuk pembelian iklan dalam akhbar itu."

Moi: "Tapi Datuk, kenapa MSN yang mengeluarkan belanja? Bukankah duit MSN untuk latihan prestasi tinggi khas untuk atlit, jurulatih dan persatuan?"

Azalina: "Kita faham media arus perdana mempunyai ruang yang terbatas untuk memberi publisiti yang meluas mengenai kegiatan sukan di negara ini."

Moi: "Kenapa MSN tidak melabur dalam the existing and established media houses?"

Azalina: "Nantilah, bila kita nak buy ad space dalam Malay Mail, I personally will call you, Rizal."

Balik ofis, kita pun ketuk lah story. Ini dia, published by Malay Mail the following day

NO money has been disbursed by the National Sports Council (NSC) to the
new sports newspaper, Malaysian Today.
However, Sports Minister Datuk Azalina Othman Said said an agreement
between the two parties was being drafted.
"We have not determined the amount because it is still subject to the
terms and conditions being drafted by our lawyers, one of which is some
form of editorial control on the paper," said Azalina in a Press
conference to announce the Everton-Rakan Muda football coaching clinics
Azalina reiterated the funding was meant to buy advertising space in the
bi-weekly paper which is expected to hit the streets on March 1.
It is however, learnt the amount that had been approved by the NSC
Board, of which Azalina is the chairman, was actually RM500,000, not
RM400,000 as reported earlier by this paper.
Azalina added buying advertising space in the paper will guarantee
publicity for NSC and their programmes for 2006 as well as the eight core
high-performance sports as part of the Ministry's effort to encourage a
culture for sports.
"We depend so much on print media and we understand the mainstream
papers have limited pages. It is also part of our promotional campaign
with other media establishments.
"But I can assure you the budget for sports development will be bigger,"
said Azalina, adding NSC director-general Datuk Wira Mazlan Ahmad has been
told to come up with a Press release regarding the issue first raised by
Sunday Mail.
Sunday Mail earlier quoted sources as saying the 10-man NSC Board
chaired by Azalina in a meeting in December, had given the go-ahead for
the deal, which they felt was a diversion from the agency's role as the
body in charge of enhancing the performance of national athletes.
Backed by a prominent politician from Sarawak, Malaysian Today was
previously circulated in East Malaysia as an English tabloid paper but
relocated to Kuala Lumpur from Kuching last year.
The paper is to be published every Tuesday and Friday and distributed
free to selected colleges and universities.
It will also be sold at the vendors at just 50 sen. Circulation per
issue is 110,000 copies.
The NSC board comprise Azalina as the chair, Olympic Council of Malaysia
(OCM) president Tunku Imran Tuanku Ja'afar, his deputy Datuk Dr M.
Jegathesan, former top civil servant Tan Sri Mohd Noordin Hassan, former
Army chief Tan Sri Zain Mahmud Hashim, Ministry Secretary-General, Datuk
Nik Mahmud Nik Yusof, Datuk Jamal Nasir Rasdi, Datuk Abdul Hamid Nazahar,
Datuk Mohamed Al-Amin Abdul Majid and Hanafi Ahmad.

Two days before the PC, Sunday Mail ran this story

A SPORTS newspaper has been dogged by controversy even before it is due to
hit the streets on March 1.
It is learnt that financing of the paper will come from public funds.
People familiar with the National Sports Council (NSC), a Government
agency established in 1971 as guardian of the nation's high-performance
sports programme, said NSC has given an undertaking to allocate a sum
amounting to RM5 million a year, or roughly RM400,000 a month, to help the
previously Kuching-based Malaysian Today relaunch its nationwide edition.
According to them, the 10-man NSC Board, chaired by Sports Minister
Datuk Azalina Othman Said, has given the go-ahead for the deal, which they
feel is a diversion from the agency's role as the body in charge of
enhancing the performance of national athletes.
Azalina, when met during the launch last Thursday, confirmed that NSC
has set aside an amount for what she called expenses for buying
advertising space in the paper.
But Azalina, who declined to disclose the amount, said: "It is common
practice for a Ministry to work closely with media establishments as one
way of getting our message across.
"The money will be used mainly for advertising purposes as and when the
need arises. We do not have a direct interest in the paper. The idea is
for us to buy advertorials and supplements in the paper and other major
newspapers as well, in line with our policy of working closely with our
media partners," said Azalina, adding that the Ministry has an existing
deal with a Bahasa Malaysia daily.
Backed by a group of politicians in Sarawak, Malaysian Today was
previously circulated in East Malaysia as an English-language tabloid
paper, but relocated to Kuala Lumpur from Kuching last year.
Asked whether the Ministry had a specific budget for advertising
purposes, Azalina said: "It will be on a basis of as and when."
She added the Ministry was in the middle of negotiations on buying
airtime with a TV station.
"We realise we cannot depend on our in-house newsletters if we were to
reach a wider audience," said Azalina.
Malaysian Today CEO Jessie Soon, when asked of the main source of income
of the paper, said it would come from advertising revenues.
"The NSC have used their funds to buy ad space in papers in the past.
For example, they tied up with Utusan Malaysia for the Rakan Muda
programme," she said.
"The NSC has expressed an interest in buying ad space in Malaysian Today
because we are a dedicated sports newspaper. Our relationship with the NSC
is no different from any relationship that we would have with any
potential sponsors.
"Both parties (NSC and Malaysian Today) share the same vision -
promoting sports and healthy lifestyle among youths in colleges and
universities where the paper will be distributed free.
"Malaysian Today is a private and family-owned paper and has sufficient
funds to sustain our bi-weekly operations."
The paper is to be published every Tuesday and Friday. While distributed
free at selected colleges and universities, it will also be sold by
vendors at 50 sen. Circulation per issue is 110,000 copies
The NSC board comprises Azalina as the chair; Olympic Council of
Malaysia (OCM) president Tunku Imran Tuanku Ja'afar; his deputy Datuk Dr
M. Jegathesan; former top civil servant Tan Sri Mohd Noordin Hassan;
former Army chief Tan Sri Zain Mahmud Hashim, Ministry Secretary-General;
Datuk Nik Mahmud Nik Yusof, Datuk Jamal Nasir Rasdi; Datuk Abdul Hamid
Nazahar; Datuk Mohamed Al-Amin Abdul Majid and Hanafi Ahmad.

The paragraphs in bold were added without my knowledge. Of course I had no control over it but I was angry because what Jessie said was not true. The Utusan Malaysia tie-up was financed by the Ministry, not NSC. NSC is a statutory body under the auspices of the Ministry established under the NSC Act in 1971. I could have easily rebutted this if Jessie had spoken to me instead of someone else!

I have nothing personal against anybody. The issues centred on whether it was morally right for NSC, a government agency in charge of high-performance sports, to be involved in a lifestyle and sports newspaper. At RM500,000 a month to boot! What gives?! NSC's raison d'etre is to prepare a strong team for international assignments, not to promote a culture of sports among youth. We have the Sports Ministry, Jabatan Belia dan Sukan and sports for all programme to do that!

Under the powers vested in the Sports Minister, he or she has the legal right to park NSC's money wherever he or she wants to.

But morally? Am I wrong to question this?

Malay Mail, without the the...

Malay Mail will continue to stir shit lah!

Yesterday's back page was interesting. Dr Defensive.

I would love to refute the points made by National Sports Institute director general Datuk Dr Ramlan Abdul Aziz but not now. Later maybe.

And then I might even spill the beans on what transpired between Dr Ramlan and I over mee rebus and cendol at Serdang Jaya recently.

Anyway, enjoy Haresh Deol's Q n A.

Dr Defensive

MAILSPORT'S recent expose on the National Sports Council's lavish spending has got their former director-general Datuk Dr Ramlan Aziz on the defensive.
Ramlan headed the NSC when they approved RM22.4 million for 'professional services, consultancy and hospitality' in 2006 - more than four times the amount they had spent in 2003.
In a compelling interview, Ramlan explains the spending and reveals his 'soft-spot' for former Sports Minister Datuk Azalina Othman Said and a possible power struggle within the NSC.

‘Azalina has grand visions’

FORMER National Sports Council director-general Datuk Dr Ramlan Aziz is upset with recent reports of extra-ordinary funding expenditure during his tenure at the NSC.

The DG of the National Sports Institute, an ardent Tottenham Hotspur fan who is also brother to music producer Roslan Aziz, headed NSC when they approved spending RM22 million for ‘professional services, consultancy and hospitality’ in 2006

After ‘jamming’ with his Malay College Old Boys band the drummer-guitarist-vocalist speaks to Mailsport’s HARESH DEOL over a cup of tea about Mailsport’s front page expose on NSC’s extravagant expenditure (based on the Auditor General’s Report 2003-2006), his ‘soft-spot’ for former Sports Minister Datuk Azalina Othman Said and a possible power tussle within the establishment.

Mailsport (MS): How do you justify the huge amount spent?

Dr Ramlan (DR): We have procedures within the establishment. It’s not like we can simply go to a vault and take out how much we want.

We go through a process with many layers involved. Let’s talk about the National Sports Awards – we have a committee which discusses the cost with the minister and we get an estimate on the budget. If everything goes well, we will approve the budget. Then a form will be filled up and signed by the DG (given approval) and this will be further broken up into different limbs catering to various sub-expenditures where each limb requires further approval.

Once it is approved, only then can the organising committee run the show.

MS: So the approvals simply justify the large amount spent?

DR: The NSC board approves an overall budget in the beginning of the year and we have to work within the budget. If our plans go overboard, then we go back to the board or the chairman of the board (Sports Minister).

What we did (expenditure) was required and needed at that time.

It’s always a learning process for us.

Azalina has introduced a lot of new innovative concepts. At times it’s difficult for us to get a sense of value for money just by looking at achieving the objectives per say.

MS: When will the learning process stop? Don’t you do your homework?

DR: What sort of homework are we talking about? We obtain quotations and normally it’s along the same bracket. But lets say A comes up with a quotation of RM300,000 while B quotes RM60,000. Then you wonder is A too expensive or is B desperate for the job and may not be able to deliver instead. Also we need to see if they are truly professionals or otherwise. That’s how we choose and learn where we can cut costs in the future.

MS: Wouldn’t the RM1.2 million spent on the 2006 National Sports Awards (NSA) be put to better use?

DR: Why don’t we forget about all this and give it to the poor instead? People are constantly pushing the envelope.

The NSA isn’t only about honouring the athletes, but also give them and the public a sense of pride, motivation and determination. For most athletes it’s a once-in-a-lifetime experience.

Those days we could be contended with the RTM band but today, perhaps, we need a multiple band. Microphones, sound and lighting equipments are not cheap. There’s also the organisation aspect as well while the prizes (trophies) are of higher quality as well.

We did what was necessary at that time. It works both horizontally and vertically; the standards have risen to cater for a wider spectrum of people.

Azalina is a very open person and responds well to feedbacks put forward in a respectful manner. She has grand visions.

However, the Auditor General’s office looks at numbers and it seems as if we had ‘wasted’ money. And the ‘ticking off’… it is a mere reminder which is also embedded in every other Auditor General’s Report.

MS: You did mention there are certain individuals tarnishing you and Azalina’s image.

DR: I stand by what I’ve said earlier. There is a concerted effort to cast a negative image on her and the officers who had served her. The timing of the issue is simply strange to me, with previous news reports leading up to your exposure…but because we’re the heads, we fly the flag.

I still have difficultly coming to terms (with the issue) but there has been enough of checks and balance done within our organisation.

You may have your opinion of it being excessive, but it’s your opinion.

DR: You seem to have a soft spot for Azalina.

MS: I have a soft spot for all my former bosses.

MS: There are claims of a conspiracy to bring you down.

DR: Things have been mushrooming wildly. Let’s omit this conspiracy. I do this job for the nation.

MS: Some believe you and Datuk Zolkples Embong (current NSC DG) ‘had no business’ participating in the Olympic torch run two weeks ago.

DR: Our business is helping the athletes to do their business. I’ve been to four Olympics –Barcelona 1992, Atlanta 1996, Sydney 2000 and Athens 2004 – as the medical officer of the International Olympic Council. I’m sure that means something and I’m honoured to be part of the run and help athletes as well.

MS: There are talks of re-uniting NSC and NSI.

DR: I don’t know. I’m a government servant and obey my bosses’ instructions. There are many options for me to give my feedback and I’m not afraid to share my opinions.

I’m optimistic everything can turn out as good as it can be.

MS: Any last words to your critics?

DR: I’m not distracted by all this and I don’t answer to such critics. We are answerable to our guardians. Ask the athletes and they know best what we’ve done for them.

Perhaps I tend to talk too much and people take me out of context. I prefer to be left alone and concentrate on my job.

Sunday, May 4, 2008

Sudah baca Mingguan Malaysia?

Ini pula lanjutan isu CYC.

Kenapa banyak isu yang timbul akhir-akhir ini?

Adakah ini kerana kita dapat Menteri Belia dan Sukan yang baru?

Ketika CYC ini disogokkan kepada kita, setiausaha agung FAM ketika itu ialah seorang politikus, Datuk Seri Dr Ibrahim Saad. Kita kenali beliau sebagai seorang yang rapat dan digelar uncle oleh Datuk Seri Azalina Othman Said.

Kini FAM diterajui seorang askar berpangkat jeneral, Lt Jen (B) Datuk Azzuddin Ahmad, yang dikenali sebagai seorang yang cukup meticulous, particular dan strict!

Apa isu sebalik isu ini?

Mudah. CYC bukan idea daripada pencinta bola sepak.

Ia dicadangkan kepada Azalina yang meluluskan bajet RM25 juta dengan alasan ia dipersetujui Jawatankuasa Kabinet Pembangunan Sukan yang dipengerusikan oleh Timbalan Perdana Menteri.

Lalu FAM dipaksa menjadi hos. FAM menyediakan bantuan teknikal, umpamanya koordinator perlawanan dan venue, pengadil, ball boy, bas dan tempat latihan.

Kemudiannya promoter kejohanan, Jonathan Price, memberi jaminan anak muda negara akan didedahkan kepada corak latihan luar negara, umpamanya Baddrol Bakhtiar dan Bunyamin Umar, yang berkampung di Chelsea selama dua minggu baru-baru ini.

Masalahnya, ia ditanggung oleh MSN.

So apahal? Apa yang bola sepak Malaysia dapat?

Hos venue kena tanggung kos
KUALA LUMPUR - Kemelut mengenai penganjuran Kejohanan Piala Juara-Juara Belia (CYC) bertambah kusut selepas sumber dalaman Kementerian Belia dan Sukan (KBS) mendedahkan penganjur kejohanan itu dikatakan memohon peruntukan tambahan daripada negeri yang menjadi hos venue.

Menurut sumber itu, antara negeri yang diminta menanggung kos penganjuran di venue masing-masing termasuklah Terengganu dan Pahang walaupun Penganjur CYC, Gifted Group Limited (GGL) mendapat peruntukan RM17 juta setahun bagi menganjurkan kejohanan tersebut.

"Malah, RM8 juta juga telah diserahkan kepada penganjur untuk tahun ini dan kami agak harian kenapa mereka memerlukan lagi peruntukan tambahan daripada hos venue pula," katanya ketika menghubungi Utusan Malaysia semalam.

Kemelut penganjuran CYC timbul selepas Menteri Belia dan Sukan, Datuk Ismail Sabri Yaakob kelmarin berkata, pihaknya memandang serius sikap GGL yang membelakangkan peranan Persatuan Bola Sepak Malaysia (FAM) dalam menganjurkan kejohanan tersebut.

Kata Ismail, tindakan Pengerusi GGL, Jonahthan Price tidak menjemput FAM semasa majlis pengundian CYC dilangsungkan baru-baru ini sebagai tidak menghormati tuan rumah.

Semalam, Setiausaha Agung FAM, Lt. Jen (B) Datuk Azzuddin Ahmad turut menyarankan KBS mengkaji semula penganjuran CYC yang dilihat gagal membantu pembangunan bola sepak negara.

Dalam pada itu, Ismail Sabri ketika dihubungi semalam berkata, pihaknya berharap agar perbincangan antara FAM, GGL dan Konfederasi Bola Sepak Asia (AFC) dapat diselesaikan dengan cara yang baik serta tidak melibatkan masalah perundangan.

"Kalau boleh tak perlulah dibawa ke peringkat mahkamah, sebaliknya ia dilakukan melalui perbincangan dalam Jawatankuasa Pengurusan Bersama secara biasa. Perkara ini perlu ditenteramkan dahulu, jalan yang terbaik ialah duduk berbincang antara semua yang terlibat dan perbincangan yang akan dijalankan ini juga tidak perlu diadakan secara formal tetapi perlu secepat mungkin,'' katanya.

Jelasnya, segala pertikaian dan pandangan masing-masing perlu diketepikan dahulu bagi mengelakkan masalah ini menjadi bertambah rumit serta merugikan semua pihak.

''Mungkin saranan yang dikeluarkan oleh FAM melibatkan pandangan biasa dan masih belum muktamad sehingga mereka mengadakan Mesyuarat Exco pada 17 Mei ini barulah ia boleh dijadikan sebagai keputusan muktamad,'' katanya.

Ujarnya, KBS tetap dengan pendirian bahawa mana-mana penganjuran sukan perlu melibatkan badan induk sukan tersebut dan langkah mengenepikan FAM adalah satu perbuatan yang tidak wajar.

Dalam pada itu Timbalan Presiden FAM, Khairy Jamaluddin ketika bercakap kepada Bernama menegaskan, penganjuran CYC sepatutnya melibatkan FAM dan perlu mendapat pengiktirafan daripada badan induk bola sepak negara ini.

"Tanpa mendapat pengiktirafan daripada FAM, kejohanan itu (CYC) adalah tidak sah," teagsnya.

Sudah baca Berita Minggu?

Berita utama muka belakang Berita Minggu hari ini

Inilah akibatnya apabila seorang Menteri diberi lesen untuk meluluskan bajet tanpa memikirkan masa depan sebuah institusi seperti MSN.

Sekarang siapa susah? Yang jadi mangsa ialah atlit, jurulatih dan kawasan-kawasan sekitarnya.

Malang sekali, masih ramai yang mempertahankan Yang Berhormat-Yang Berhormat, entah atas dasar apa!

Ini bukan soal mengapa perkara-perkara semacam ini baru didedahkan kepada umum. Ini juga bukan soal witch-hunting atau menuding jari. Ini juga bukan soal membalas dendam.

Ini soal peri laku mereka yang harus bertanggungjawab terhadap urus tadbir sukan negara tidak melaksanakan tanggungjawab dan amanah mereka, sebaliknya menghancurkan institusi yang sudah dibina, dibelai dan dibentuk sekian lama.

Harapkan pagar, pagar makan padi!

224 pusat latihan ditutup
Oleh Ahmad Khawari Isa dan Hasnira Hassan

Program Sukan Teras terjejas kerana MSN tidak cukup dana

PETANDA parahnya situasi kewangan Majlis Sukan Negara (MSN) terus terjelma apabila 224 pusat latihan Program Sukan Teras di seluruh negara terpaksa ditutup sejak tahun lalu.

Penutupan hampir 50 peratus pusat latihan itu diputuskan dalam kajian semula program berkenaan oleh MSN ketika turut timbul pengesahan mengenai kepayahan melunaskan pembayaran gaji jurulatih-jurulatih yang terbabit dengannya.

Tindakan itu disahkan Pengarah Cawangan Pelapis MSN, Jefri Ngadirin dengan langkah penyelarasan untuk menutup pusat-pusat berkenaan hanya diselesaikan, minggu lalu.

Alternatif untuk menangani masalah itu ialah mengecilkan jumlah atlit, menerusi sesi pemilihan khas, ketika MSN mengakui tidak punya peruntukan mencukupi buat membayar kos sewa tempat latihan dan bayaran gaji jurulatih.

Diajukan persoalan tempat latihan untuk atlit berpotensi yang terpaksa digugurkan, Jefri mengakui: “Kami sudah tidak mampu lagi dan mereka terpaksa menjalani latihan dengan bajet sendiri.”

Isu itu terdedah ekoran rungutan ibu bapa beberapa atlit bowling yang ibarat ‘anak ayam kehilangan ibu’ apabila hanya dimaklumkan secara lisan penutupan pusat latihan di sebuah pusat membeli belah di Kuala Lumpur.

Bapa kepada seorang atlit, Muhammad Ramli Bardin, mempertikaikan tindakan tanpa ‘hitam putih’ MSN dan Persatuan Tenpin Bowling Kuala Lumpur itu.

“Tahun lalu, kami dimaklumkan mengenai penutupan pusat latihan di Putrajaya sebelum sebahagian pemain diserapkan berlatih di Kuala Lumpur.

“Kali ini, dimaklumkan ketika taklimat bahawa pusat di Kuala Lumpur itu juga bakal menjejaki nasib sama. Mereka jadikan masalah kesempitan kewangan MSN sebagai alasan,” katanya.

Program Sukan Teras bermula pada 2005 dengan tujuan mencambahkan penyertaan atlit untuk lapan sukan utama - olahraga, akuatik, bowling, bola sepak, badminton, hoki, skuasy, gimnastik - yang dikenalpasti berpotensi menghasilkan pencapaian baik buat negara.

Namun penutupan pusat latihan angkara kantung kontang MSN itu mencetus bimbang ketika timbul pelbagai laporan mempertikaikan perbelanjaan besar terpaksa ditanggung badan induk itu buat membiayai pelbagai program yang tiada kaitan jelas dengannya.

Ia termasuk laporan sebelumnya yang mendedahkan arahan membiayai baki kos penajaan tahunan untuk sebuah stesen televisyen kabel berjumlah RM8 juta selain kos papan iklan Kementerian Belia dan Sukan (KBS) ketika Kejohanan Futsal Lima Sepasukan Sedunia.

MSN juga turut dikaitkan dengan kontroversi isu perbelanjaan untuk penganjuran Sukan Wanita oleh Yayasan Sukan dan Kecergasan Wanita Malaysia (WSFFM) sebelumnya gara-gara peruntukan daripada badan induk itu berjumlah lebih RM9 juta.

KM Naza juara, Kuala Lumpur tersungkur

About the same time the multi-millionaires of Manchester United were piercing through West Ham's porous defence as the Red Devils took a big step towards the English Premiership title last night, a title was decided in our own backyard.

Tahniah kepada Kuala Muda Naza yang menjuarai Liga Perdana selepas mengatasi pencabar terdekat KL Plus 3-2 malam tadi.

Jurulatih KM Naza, K. Devan, bertuah memiliki adunan tenaga muda dan orang lama, macam Farderin Kadir (gambar ihsan, yang dipilih Pemain Terbaik Perlawanan malam tadi, dan Liew Kit Kong serta B. Rajanikandh dan Anuar Jusoh.

KL Plus pula terpaksa berpuas hati dengan gelaran naib juara.

Nasib berbeza pula bagi Kuala Lumpur yang terjerumus ke Liga FAM musim depan. Apa sudah jadi?

Dibimbing oleh bekas bek kanan kebangsaan Razip Ismail, Kuala Lumpur nampaknya sudah hilang kekuatan. Pencapaiannya selaku gergasi bola sepak 1980-an ketika nama Fandi Ahmad, Subadron Aziz, Malek Awab mencanak naik sudah lama ditelan zaman.

Saturday, May 3, 2008

Tahniah, Lokman and Martin

PETALING JAYA: Wartawan Harian Metro (HM), Lokman Zainal Abidin, memenangi kategori Kewartawanan Sukan (Bahasa Melayu) pada majlis Hadiah Kewartawanan Malaysia anjuran Institut Akhbar Malaysia (MPI)-Petronas 2007, di sebuah hotel di sini, malam tadi.

Beliau adalah antara empat wartawan dan dua jurugambar Kumpulan The New Straits Times Press (M) Bhd (NSTP) yang memenangi pelbagai kategori pada majlis itu.

Antara yang memenangi anugerah itu ialah wartawan Berita Harian (BH), Azrul Affandi Sobry dan Zul Husni Abdul Hamid membolot hadiah wang tunai RM5,000 bagi kategori Kewartawanan Hiburan (Bahasa Melayu) menerusi artikel bertajuk `Dimensi baru genre irama alternatif’.

Manakala dua wartawan New Straits Times (NST), Sonia A Ramachandran dan Heidi Foo Wai Chien memenangi kategori Kewartawanan Berita (Bahasa Inggeris) dan membawa pulang hadiah wang tunai RM5,000 menerusi artikel bertajuk `The Hook, The Line, The Sinker. - HARIAN METRO

Kategori Kewartawanan Sukan Bahasa Inggeris dimenangi oleh bekas wartawan sukan New Straits Times, Martin Yee yang kini bertugas di Borneo Post.

Senarai pemenang



(Tunai: RM20,000, Medal Pingat Emas bernilai RM10,000 dan Sijil Penghargaan)

Tiada Pemenang

(Tunai: RM5,000 setiap bahasa dan sijil penghargaan)

Bahasa Melayu:
Suhana Md. Yusof (Kosmo, Utusan Melayu)
Tajuk: Nikah RM10

Bahasa Inggeris:
Sonia Ramachandran & Heidi Foo Wai Chien (NST)
Tajuk: The Hook, The Line, The Sinker

Bahasa Cina:
Chia Chong Lang (Nanyang Siang Pau)
Tajuk: Series of stories: The disastrous flood in Southern Peninsular

Bahasa Tamil:
Vijiwaran a/l Dorasamy (Malaysia Nanban)
Tajuk: Sejarah bangsa India Malaysia 22 tahun

(Tunai: RM5,000 setiap bahasa dan sijil penghargaan)

Bahasa Melayu:
Noorzila binti Jamaludin, Nor Shamsi Nor binti Baharin dan Shahrul Nazmi bin Sannusi
(Majalah Al-Islam, Utusan Karya)
Tajuk: Islam dan sains forensik jalinan serasi dalam pembuktian

Bahasa Inggeris:
Chin Mui Yoon (STAR)
Tajuk: Food for thought

Bahasa Cina:
Chia Chong Lang (Nanyang Siang Pau)
Tajuk: Series of stories: Members of Public and police combat crimes hands in hands

Bahasa Tamil
Vijiwaran a/l Dorasamy (Malaysia Nanban)
Tajuk: Sekolah Tamil ke arah era baru

(Tunai: RM5,000 setiap bahasa dan sijil penghargaan)

Bahasa Melayu:
Lokman Zainal Abidin (Harian Metro)
Tajuk: Ancam tarik diri

Bahasa Inggeris:
Martin Yee Man Teng (The Borneo Post)
Tajuk: Wither Sarawak football after worst season?

Bahasa Cina:
Lim Chee Sen (Nanyang Siang Pau)
Tajuk: Kemerosotan mutu bolasepak kaum Cina

Bahasa Tamil:
Parthiban a/l Nagarajan (Malaysia Nanban) – Saguhati RM1,500
Tajuk: Sukan SEA: Inspirasi baru

(Hadiah Pertama: RM3,000; Hadiah Kedua: RM2,000; Hadiah Ketiga: RM1,000 dan Sijil Penghargaan)

Hadiah Pertama: Mohd. Zaki b. Amiruddin (Utusan Melayu)
Tajuk: Pulau Bah

Hadiah Kedua: Datu Ruslan Sulai (NST)
Tajuk: 50 rumah musnah dalam kebakaran

Hadiah Ketiga: Zulkarnain Ahmad Tajuddin (NST)
Tajuk: Road rage caught on camera

(Hadiah Pertama: RM3,000; Hadiah Kedua: RM2,000; Hadiah Ketiga: RM1,000 dan Sijil Penghargaan)

Hadiah Pertama: Azhar Mahfof (STAR)
Tajuk: Amazing Haziq

Hadiah Kedua: Rapa’ee Kawi (STAR)
Tajuk: Food development

Hadiah Ketiga: Tan Ee Long (Nanyang Siang Pau)
Tajuk: A dying art: Malaysia Chinese Opera

(Tunai: RM5,000 setiap bahasa dan sijil penghargaan)

Bahasa Melayu:
Shahrul Nazmi bin Sannusi (Majalah Al-Islam, Utusan Karya)
Tajuk: Pengurusan tanah wakaf lemah punca Melayu tenggelam di Pulau Pinang.

Bahasa Inggeris:
Johannes Ridu (Berita Publishing)
Tajuk: AP woes in Malaysian Trade

Bahasa Cina
Ching Siau Huay dan Lim Siok Yean (Nanyang Siang Pau)
Tajuk: Orang yang tidak mengalah pada nasib

Bahasa Tamil:
Kogilavani a/p Ponniah (Vidiyal Enterprise)
Tajuk: Thotu vidathirgal athu unggalai tholaithu vidum

(Tunai: RM7,000 dan sijil penghargaan)

Elphege P Godomon dan Mohammed Yazzer bin Mahmun (TV3)
Tajuk: Kanak-kanak sekolah berjalan kaki di Pitas, Sabah

(Tunai: RM7,000, sijil penghargaan, Plak kepada stesyen TV)

Rosli Mohd. Nordin dan Mohd. Najib Hassan (RTM)
Tajuk: ‘Dehlah Sinuien’, Zara gadis Senai

(Tunai: RM5,000 setiap bahasa dan sijil penghargaan)

Bahasa Melayu:
Azrul Affandi Sobry (Berita Harian)
Tajuk: Dimensi baru genre irama alternatif

Bahasa Inggeris:
Rama Lohan a/l Narayanan (STAR)
Tajuk: Through the years

Bahasa Cina:
Tan Peng Cheak (Nanyang Siang Pau)
Tajuk: Resurrection of the world classic music

Bahasa Tamil:
Rengasamy a/l Sinnappan (Makkal Osai)
Tajuk: Setia bersamamu

(Tunai: RM5,000 setiap bahasa dan sijil penghargaan)

Bahasa Melayu:
Amree bin Ahamad dan Suhana Md. Yusop (Kosmo)
Tajuk: Skim Francais bermasalah?

Bahasa Inggeris:
Boey Ee Mei Elaine (The Edge)
Tajuk: 8 ways to detect the enrons and transmiles

Bahasa Cina:
Leong Fung Yin (Sin Chew Daily)
Tajuk: A blooming Islamic finance

Bahasa Tamil:
Ramadoo a/l Guruveloo (Malaysia Nanban)
Tajuk: Keadaan ekonomi negara kita

(Tunai: RM7,000 untuk media cetak dari semua bahasa dan RM7,000 untuk media elektronik dan sijil penghargaan)

Media Cetak:
Melati binti Mohd. Ariff (BERNAMA)
Tajuk: Hutan

Media Elektronik:
Karam Singh a/l Partap Singh dan Mohd. Nadzri Mohd. Raus (TV3)
Tajuk: Babi cemar

(Tunai: RM10,000 dan Sijil Penghargaan)

Tiada Pemenang


Tiada Pemenang

Perginya seorang pencinta hoki


Bekas penyerang hoki kebangsaan, Razak Leman, 49, meninggal dunia petang tadi.

Difahamkan Allahyarham menghembuskan nafas terakhirnya di Pusat Perubatan Mahkota, Melaka.

Allahyarham yang berasal dari Bandar Kaba, Melaka, menghidap penyakit buah pinggang sejak 1998. Bandar Kaba juga tempat asal bekas kapten kebangsaan, Mirnawan Nawawi.

Antara kejohanan yang pernah disertai Allahyarham ialah Piala Quid El Azam di Pakistan (1976), Piala Remaja Dunia di Paris (1979), World Ascenda di Perth, Australia (1979) dan Piala Dunia di India (1980).

Friday, May 2, 2008

Mazlan is the SAP chairman

Datuk Wira Mazlan Ahmad, National Sports Council supremo for more than 12 years, is the new Sports Advisory Panel (SAP) chairman effective as of May 1, as announced by Sports Minister, Datuk Ismail Sabri Yaakob in the post-cab meeting hours ago.

Jasin-born Mazlan who retired in August 2005, said: "I am very grateful and honoured. I will offer my views and advice for the good of sports. After retiring almost three years ago without being involved at all either at the Ministry level or the NSC, I can see things more objectively.

"However my role is to advise, the rest is for the YB Minister to decide."

Mazlan's immediate predecessor Datuk Nik Mahmud Nik Yusof is now the Sports Commissioner, succeeding Tan Sri Elyas Omar whose tenure ended April 15.

A tale of two DGs

The New Straits Times carried this on May 1, 2008

THE National Sports Council (NSC), as far as director general Datuk
Zolkples Embong is concerned, initiated prudent spending immediately upon
the conclusion of the 2006 Doha Asian Games.
Zolkples, who took over from Datuk Dr Ramlan Abdul Aziz as the NSC
director general in April, 2007, said cost-cutting measures began with
the move to pay athletes allowances based on performances.
In fact, he expects NSC's overall expenses to further reduce after the
Beijing Olympics.
NSC was ticked off by Deputy Auditor General Azizah Arshad as its
audited accounts showed an increase from RM6.3 million in 2003 to RM28
million in 2006 for expenditures on professional services, celebrations
and hospitality, coaching and officials, national sports awards and the
Malaysia Games.
"We have to understand that NSC's programmes are growing and expenses
increase as focus is given to development.
"The priority this year has been for athletes to qualify for the
Olympics and so far, we have spent close to RM8 million in all sports to
help athletes qualify for Beijing.
"Obviously, the expenses will be reduced after the Beijing Olympics but
a drastic drop cannot be expected as there are other existing programmes
and there is also the Sea Games next year.
"The Sea Games may not be as costly as other major Games but we will be
sending a big contingent, especially development athletes, and this will
still cost us."
Zolkples said the significant hike in the organisational cost of the
2004 Negri Sembilan Malaysia Games and the 2006 Kedah Malaysia Games was
because the allocation for the Negri Games was channeled directly to the
state government by the Sports Ministry and this didn't appear in NSC's
audited accounts.
NSC's 2004 Malaysia Games expenditure was RM282,987 while the Kedah
Games cost the organisation RM3.371 million.

AND this on April 30, 2008

NATIONAL Sports Institute (NSI) director general Datuk Dr Ramlan Abdul
Aziz has acknowledged that the National Sports Council's (NSC)
expenditures had ballooned since 2003, particularly in 2006.
The NSC was ticked off by deputy auditor general Azizah Arshad as its
audited accounts had shown a significant increase of expenditure from
RM6.3 million in 2003 to RM28 million in 2006 for professional services,
celebrations and hospitality, coaching and officials, national sports
awards and the Malaysia Games.
Ramlan, who was the NSC director-general during that period, said the
growth of the organisation, including the restructuring of the entire NSC
set-up, were the main reasons for increased expenditure.
However, Ramlan was disappointed that efforts to cast former Sports
Minister (Datuk Seri Azalina Othman Said) and her management team
negatively has been blown out of proportion.
"The deputy auditor general has already looked into it and we have
acknowledged. The spending of public funds has been under the microscope
and if there was any wrongdoing, the authorities can investigate," said
Ramlan at his office in Bukit Jalil yesterday.
"However, what has now become serious is the concerted effort to cast a
negative image of the former sports minister and the officers who had
served under her.
"All I can say is that there was prior approval for all the projects.
Everything was on principle and above board, according to the process and
procedures of the government.
"As an organisation, the NSC has grown with new divisions being
"The concentrated effort to do well in the Doha Asian Games (in 2006),
new facilities for the Kedah Malaysia Games, the increase of allowances
for national athletes all contributed to the expenditure. There were also
more coaches with higher salaries.
"I would be able to give a more detailed explanation on this but I need
to have an exact breakdown first."
Ramlan said 2006 was an extraordinary hectic sporting year with the
Melbourne Commonwealth Games, Thomas and Uber Cup Finals in Japan and the
Asian Games being held besides other regular international events, which
caused spending during that year to increase considerably.
The hike in expenses for the Malaysia Games from RM282,987 in Negri
Sembilan in 2004 to RM3.37 million in Kedah two years later was due to
the fact that venues had to either be built or renovated to help the
development of certain sports.