BWF grants smack of double standards, says BAM chief

The Badminton Association of Malaysia (BAM) has slammed the manner in which Badminton World Federation gave out grants worth US$500,000 to member associations impacted by Covid-19.

BAM president Tan Sri Norza Zakaria said the pandemic had affected all as everyone was going through a difficult period regardless whether they were developing or developed member associations.

“It’s quite unfair for BWF to consider just some of the member associations for such funding but when it comes to major tournaments, BWF wants the major badminton nations to be part of them,” said Norza.

“Having players from developed member associations playing in their tournaments contributes to BWF’s coffers. Yet, when it comes to giving out such grants, the major nations are overlooked.

“The way I see it, there’s some level of double standards.”

BWF, in a press statement yesterday, revealed that over 100 of its member associations received their first handouts under the BWF Membership Grants Programme. Around US$500,000 has been distributed thus far. The statement did not give the exact number of member associations that benefited from the grant and the amount each obtained.

BAM, considered a developed member association, did not receive the financial assistance.

Norza stressed that the “suffering is universal”, adding that BWF should distribute grants equally to all member associations.

“Revenues for member associations come from various sources … sponsorships, tournaments and government grants. But due to Covid-19, the tournaments were all cancelled. The bigger the association, the bigger the hole (in the pocket).

“Member associations, including from developed badminton nations, have development programmes even at the grassroots. Money has to be spent on all these programmes.

“When the major streams of income are disrupted, the programmes including grassroots development are also disrupted.

“You need money to pay overheads, to pay officials, to pay coaches.”

Norza, who is also Olympic Council of Malaysia (OCM) president, added BWF should show that it cares for all during good or bad times.

OCM has to date rolled out two Covid-19 relief funds totalling RM600,000 to help national sports associations in Malaysia facing financial difficulties. Ordinary members who applied were given RM10,000 each while associate members received RM5,000 each.

“As OCM president, we have 56 affiliates and we treat all the sports associations the same. We communicated our intention to everyone and informed them about the cap.

“We also waived the rental at Wisma OCM. Why can’t the same be done in badminton?”

He described the US$500,000 for the over 100 member states as a “meagre amount”.

“It’s just like a token. BWF have to really understand the pulse on the ground, understand the situation faced by member associations at the moment.”

He also took a swipe at Badminton Asia.

“There has not been any news from Badminton Asia about such assistance.”

BWF president Poul-Erik Høyer, had in the press statement, said: “Given the uncertain nature of the Covid-19 pandemic, it is vital that we reach out and support our member associations. “The BWF Membership Grants Programme provides us with a necessary platform to achieve this in 2020. Long-term, we see the Grants Programme facilitating continued and consistent assistance for members in helping them deliver key badminton activities in their countries.”

Here’s the round-up of The News Normal today.

ALLOCATION FOR JASA TO BE REDUCED

The Communications and Multimedia Ministry says the RM85.5 million allocated in Budget 2021 for the Special Affairs Department (Jasa) will be reduced.

No amount was specified but minister Datuk Saifuddin Abdullah revealed Jasa will be rebranded as the Department of Community Communications (J-KOM) with different roles and functions.

The RM85.8 million allocation for the agency courted criticism as Jasa has often been labelled as a government propaganda tool. The agency was revived after being dissolved by the Pakatan Harapan administration.

Speaking during the winding up of the 2021 Budget debate for the ministry in the Dewan Rakyat, Saifuddin said the functions of J-KOM will include creating two-way communication between the government and people and to convey accurate, authentic information to the people.

“J-KOM is not a propaganda machine, not under my charge and its first priority is on the communication on Covid-19,” Saifuddin said.

He added the director-general and deputy director-general of J-KOM will not be political appointees.

18 REMANDED AFTER SHOOTOUT AT MALAYSIA-THAI BORDER

Eighteen men, including three Thai nationals, have been remanded following the shootout between General Operations Force (GOF) members and smugglers at the Malaysia-Thailand border yesterday.

Kangar magistrate’s court assistant registrar Monica Joseph Gaisah issued a seven-day remand order for the Thais and a four-day remand order for the Malaysians.

GOF member Corporal Baharuddin Ramli, 54, was killed while Corporal Norihan a/l Tari, 39, was severely injured during the shootout with the smugglers about 600m from the Border Wall TS9 control post in Padang Besar.

Baharuddin died at the scene while Norihan is being treated at the Tuanku Fauziah Hospital in Kangar.

RESPONSIBILITY TO ELIMINATE VIOLENCE AGAINST WOMEN RESTS WITH EACH OF US

Today is International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women. Let’s reject violence against women in all its forms.

It can be as simple as refusing to consume media that we know normalises this violence, or discreetly offering help to a neighbour we suspect is being abused.