Ill-advised KL City victory parade grinds to screeching halt – before it even begins

Kuala Lumpur City FC was supposed to showcase the Malaysia Cup trophy to its fans in a victory parade this evening.

The parade was supposed to start at Masjid Negara and then head to Jalan Tuanku Abdul Rahman, Jalan Campbell, Jalan Raja Laut, Kampung Baru, Jalan Sultan Ismail, Jalan Ampang, KLCC, and Bukit Bintang, before ending at Cheras Stadium.

Federal Territories Minister Datuk Seri Shahidan Kassim and Kuala Lumpur mayor Datuk Seri Mahadi Che Ngah were expected to address the crowd.

Local artists were also scheduled to perform.

Hours after the announcement was made, Kuala Lumpur City FC president Tan Sri Annuar Musa tweeted that the parade had been cancelled.

He said that the safety and health of Kuala Lumpur City fans must take priority.

The behind-the-scenes charade involving the city outfit’s 2-0 victory against Johor Darul Ta’zim (JDT) in the final on Tuesday night has been mind-boggling.

Let’s first clear the air about the roles played by the politicians.

Annuar Musa, a former Federal Territories minister, is the club’s president. Khalid Samad, who was Annuar Musa’s predecessor at the ministry, is Kuala Lumpur Football Association president.

That explains why both of them were on the field before, and after the final.

Shahidan, however, kicked up a fuss over not being invited onto the field. His way of ‘retaliating’ was to declare a public holiday for Kuala Lumpur, Putrajaya, and Labuan.

Several quarters had slammed the move. Bank Negara Malaysia said all financial institutions and their branches in Kuala Lumpur would remain open today.

It is still unclear why Putrajaya and Labuan were also included, especially when the holiday was meant to celebrate the success of a club based in Kuala Lumpur.

And then there was this idea of a street parade – right in the middle of the Covid-19 pandemic – even as various ministries and agencies were scrambling to deal with the Omicron strain, and a possible tsunami of infections in the coming weeks.

According to the latest data by the Health Ministry, the utilisation of intensive care units (ICUs) in the Klang Valley, is at 78.4 per cent.

Granted, Kuala Lumpur had last won the prestigious trophy 32 years ago, but one wonders if there was any consideration given for public safety, in wanting to organise the parade.

Physical distancing would have been a nightmare. Not that Kuala Lumpur City enjoys a huge fan base, unlike Selangor, JDT or even the East Coast teams. But after last Tuesday’s triumph, the city club had certainly won the hearts of more people.

While Kuala Lumpur City FC has every right to celebrate its latest victory, chalked during the 100th edition of the Malaysia Cup, organising a parade at this time, at the tip of another surge, isn’t the brightest of ideas.

This ‘U-turn’ could have been avoided.

With so many politicians in Putrajaya having been involved in football administration – from Annuar Musa, to Shahidan (who, at one time, was involved with more than five sports associations), to Health Minister Khairy Jamaluddin – one would have expected them to have had a chat and be advised accordingly.

Khairy would have surely said no to a parade, and that would have been the end of that, and all parties could have been spared the embarrassment.

Isn’t that what WhatsApp groups are for?