It was no surprise that Tan Sri Norza Zakaria won the BA of Malaysia (BAM) presidency unopposed for the 2021-2025 term at the annual general meeting (AGM) last Saturday.
What matters now is the “unfinished business” he mentioned as the new line-up strives to take Malaysian badminton to greater heights.
The AGM at Akademi Badminton Malaysia came barely a day after BAM secured an RM55 million sponsorship deal from Yonex Sunrise that will last till 2026.
Much attention, however, should be on two new faces within the committee – deputy president Datuk Seri Jahaberdeen Mohamed Yunoos and appointed treasurer Datuk Michael Tang Vee Mun.
Jahaberdeen, a senior lawyer who runs Rapera – a movement that encourages thinking and compassion among citizens – is known for his no-nonsense approach.
The Kuala Lumpur Badminton Association president will call a spade a spade – a trait that is not appreciated in most national sports bodies in the country. Some ponder if the BAM meetings from now on will be filled with fireworks.
The other deputy president is Datuk V. Subramaniam.
Norza, having known Jahaberdeen for years, understands the character of his deputy well. Such a partnership, if played right, will only augur well for the sport.
Tang, meanwhile, is expected to provide BAM fresh and new perspectives and further beef up the national body’s coffers.
Having started his career as a lawyer, Tang, who is in his 40s, has an impressive resume.
He has wide experience in the corporate and financial worlds across various industries such as real estate, natural resources, healthcare and technology. He is the principal of private equity and alternative investments firm Mettiz Capital Limited and the senior independent non-executive director of Tropicana Corporation Bhd.
Much faith is also placed on Datuk Kenny Goh Chee Keong who continues to be the general secretary – the other appointed position.
With big guns by Norza’s side, expectations are naturally high.
The grooming of new talents is the responsibility of all – schools, state affiliates and the national body – and as such a new star will not be born overnight. The system, however, must be revamped with aggressive action especially at the grassroots. This is a continuous process of priority for all those who run BAM – this term or the next.
This new BAM committee must make it their priority to elevate the status of the sport in all aspects – administratively and financially – and they must also market badminton right to capture younger fans who are technology-driven.
The state affiliates need to buck up and BAM must not be hesitant to reprimand those who continue to lag behind. States must ensure that the badminton culture is fully embraced by all. If more people start paying attention to badminton consistently, there will be more eyeballs on the sport almost daily instead of just during a major event that features a Malaysian in the final.
The new faces must fulfill their responsibility with passion and zest, and they must not feel obliged to anyone for being part of the national stable.
Norza and team will now serve. Here’s hoping for an exciting rally ahead.