AirAsia boss vying to make Malaysian hockey soar

Kamrudin Meranun

In what seems to be an attempt to revamp the Malaysia Hockey Confederation (MHC), several corporate figures, a member of the royal family and at least one former international will be contesting in the elections on Nov 16.

MHC vice-president Datuk Manjit Majid Abdullah, in admitting that the current crop of MHC officials have “failed”, confirmed that AirAsia Group Bhd executive chairman Datuk Kamarudin Meranun will battle the national body’s president Datuk Seri Subahan Kamal for the top post while the Regent of Pahang Tengku Hassanal Ibrahim Alam Shah Al-Sultan Abdullah will contest the deputy president’s post.

Manjit, who is also Johor Hockey Association deputy president, said the state association decided to nominate Kamarudin and Tengku Hassanal during its executive council meeting two weeks ago.

“We also decided to nominate (former international) K. Maheswari to go up against Prof Datuk Dr Shamala Subramaniam for the other deputy president’s post. Also in our line-up are Tan Sri Shahril Shamsuddin and Datuk Seri Che Khalib Mohamad Noh,” said Manjit.

Shahril is president and group chief executive officer of Sapura Energy while Che Khalid is group managing director of MMC Corporation Berhad.

Fight for Change 2019

“We will submit our list of names once nominations are opened.”

Manjit added: “The council, including me, should resign because we have failed. Changes must be made so that Malaysian hockey will improve further.”

“We may be ranked 11 in the world but have yet to qualify for the Olympics and did badly at last year’s World Cup. Also, grassroots development is lacking.”

At last year’s World Cup in India, Malaysia returned home early after ending with only one point and being placed bottom of Pool D. The national team, coached by Roelant Oltmans, must win the two play-offs against Great Britain on Nov 2 and 3 to qualify for next year’s Olympics.

It has been widely reported that Subahan and Shamala will not seek re-election if the Malaysian Tigers fail to qualify for Tokyo 2020.

“Just take the (ongoing) Sultan of Johor Cup. It has been running for the past nine years. Yet, the president has not attended a match or the final. He has ignored all this. Why? Ask him that question. Perhaps he doesn’t like me.”

As such, Manjit said the new line-up, if given the mandate, is ready to restructure Malaysian hockey.

“Tengku Hassanal will be groomed to eventually take over as MHC president and perhaps even serve the Asian Hockey Federation (AHF) one day. Tengku Hassanal will be coming back (from military training at the Royal Military Academy¬†Sandhurst in United Kingdom) for good in December and he will be ready to serve Malaysian hockey,” added Manjit, who is also AHF vice-president.