Malaysian Gymnastics Federation (MGF) president Rachel Lau has asked those seeking her removal to provide details and evidence to back their claims.
This comes after seven of 11 MGF affiliates declared they have lost confidence in Lau.
“MGF has discovered irregularities within the federation’s management and accounts. Given the gravity of the situation, we have sought external auditors and requested an investigation by the authorities into the matter.
“It is very coincidental that as these irregularities are being audited externally and investigated by the authorities, calls for a no-confidence vote are trickling in.
“I sincerely hope that the calls for my removal have nothing to do with my efforts to strengthen governance and accountability in MGF, especially its financial affairs and transactions,” Lau said in a statement.
The seven affiliates – Penang, Selangor, Perak, Negeri Sembilan, Sarawak, Melaka and Terengganu – had submitted a jointly signed letter to MGF, urging that an extraordinary general meeting be held as soon as possible.
Terengganu Gymnastics Association president A. Razak Mat Amin, a former MGF president, had alleged Lau had made decisions on her own as well as abused her power over several issues as reported by Bernama on Wednesday.
Lau described the move by the concerned parties as “déjà vu”, pointing out that the previous MGF president, Datuk Jaya Al Bakri, was also subjected to a no-confidence vote.
She said the motion to remove Jaya came about over allegations of lack of technical knowledge, the inability to cooperate or make decisions and he was eventually voted out in 2018.
“On the claims made against me during my time as MGF president, I would like to ask those seeking my removal to please provide clarity and details on their allegations, plus evidence to back up their claims.
“At the moment, we are working with vague allegations and this does not help to resolve the issues at hand. My door is always open to those who are sincere and wish to seek clarification as to why certain actions are taken. However, I recognise that I will never be able to please anyone with an ulterior motive or agenda,” she added.
Lau said she will not cease her efforts to promote greater governance and accountability concerning past and present financial affairs and transactions involving MGF.
Lau said the 2019/2020 and 2017/2018 executive committees had found accounting irregularities and misconduct in the years 2014 to 2016.
“We have reported the irregularities to authorities and have closed conversations with Sports Commissioner’s Office, Olympic Council of Malaysia and Youth and Sports Ministry on what the next best steps are.
“At the same time, we have launched an internal investigation and will engage forensic accountants to determine the extent of the damages and losses which may have been incurred against MGF over the years.
“Given the severity of the situation now, the Exco 2019/20 is proceeding to report these financial discrepancies to the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission to conduct a thorough investigation,” she added.
Lau added the public needs to see that sports federations are making a difference in producing better athletes and doing it right.
“Parents need to feel safe sending their children to gymnasium classes knowing that the adults running the federation are trustworthy and reliable and that the money entrusted to MGF are properly spent and managed.”
Lau told her critics to “abide by the Constitution and act accordingly”.
“To those who have shown support for my role as president at this time, I thank you. To those who may seek to pressure me to resign, I will not be intimidated and will not be cowed by anyone.”
“The allegations against me on Bernama TV by Razak are baseless, unfounded, unwarranted and unnecessary. At the annual general meeting last week, the members (including those who are now calling for my removal) called for any disagreement to be resolved internally “within the family” to which I agreed for the sake of MGF.
“This is why, unlike my detractors, I choose not to air any specific issues or instances publicly and shall instead cooperate with the relevant authorities to complete their investigations.
“Where my personal space and rights have been infringed, I shall seek appropriate legal advice on the next course of action,” she added.
Twentytwo13 had earlier today reported that MGF secretary Afrita Ariany Nasril, who was handpicked for the post by Lau, was relieved of her duties with immediate effect by the president.
Early this year, MGF was embroiled in another controversy when deputy president Kau Git Kaur was suspended for allegedly being involved in a drug-fuelled party.
Kau, who won Malaysia’s first-ever SEA Games gold medal in gymnastics in 1991, has since challenged the decision.
He also threatened to sue Lau for the manner of his suspension as she didn’t call for an inquiry before suspending him “based on newspaper reports”.
He also alleged MGF owed him money dating as far back as 2014, something which Lau disputed.
Here’s a round up of The News Normal today.
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