Markiman Kobiran

THE aftermath of the 14th general election has somewhat injected hope into several passionate sepak takraw enthusiasts who are demanding change within the national association.

Leading the group of hopefuls is Datuk Markiman Kobiran as he challenges long-serving Datuk Seri Ahmad Ismail for the Sepak Takraw Association of Malaysia president’s post in the June 24 elections.

Ironically, Markiman is going after his fellow Umno colleague in a bid to “reform” the association.

But why?

Speaking to Twentytwo13 ahead of his scheduled press conference at 6.30pm today, Markiman singled out the association’s “outdated” constitution for starters.

“Clause 25.3 states decisions made during meetings must be through a show of hands. And if there is a call for a secret ballot, it can only be done with a majority show of hands,” said Markiman, the former Hulu Langat MP who once served as Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Hussein’s political secretary.

“Times have changed but the constitution is still stuck in the past.”

The deputy head of the Hulu Langat Umno division took issue with the performance of the national team and the financial situation of the association which he says is overly reliant on government assistance.

Stakeholders in Malaysia still regard sepak takraw as a “Malay sport” but the pioneers have fallen behind Thailand and Myanmar as evident at the Kuala Lumpur SEA Games last year.

And Markiman believes smaller nations like Brunei and Singapore will soon pull away too if the rot is not stopped.

He also wants to see non-Malays enjoy and take interest in the sport.

For the record, several non-Malays represented the country and state teams in the past. They include the late C. Muniandy who played for Malaysia in the 1973 SEAP Games in Singapore, V. Selvaraj and K. Saravanan.

Several former players are set to join Markiman at what could be a spicy press conference at Ali Cafe Tomyam Seafood in Bangsar. The invite, which was sent out to reporters, was accompanied by hashtags including #ABAI, #AsalBukanAhmadIsmail #TokMatSilaUndurDiri.

They reminded many of the hashtags that appeared just before GE14 such as #AsalBukanUmno and #Inikalilah.

Sepak Takraw ball
Will there be reforms in the Malaysian sepak takraw scene?

Nevertheless, Markiman failed in his attempt to rid Ahmad Ismail four years ago. After all, the power of the vote lies with the representatives from the state associations.

“There has been a hue and cry about changes, but if the states don’t want to make a difference, then nothing will change,” he said.

“We hope there will be a change of heart … delegates and council members who are unimpressed with the administration of the association and performance of the national team should make their voices heard.”

Markiman agrees the sentiment in the aftermath of the May 9 general election is still felt at every level of society.

“I agree with the element of a new life, a wave of change. I stand to what I’ve been saying all this while … if Ahmad Ismail has done extremely well, the national team has been performing, we excel in developing talents and the sport thrives and is enjoyed by all Malaysians, I will be the first to tell him he has done a good job and to carry on running the association.

“But the results throughout his 16 years running the association show otherwise.

“We have turned into a laughing stock.”

So what will be the first thing Markiman does if he wins?

“Change the constitution. Show of hands during meetings? Perhaps adopting such a method to choose a ketua darjah in a primary school is acceptable but not in a national sports body.”