‘Frogs not only in politics but also in sports’

A veteran administrator has echoed the called by former hockey international Maninderjit Singh that officials keen on positions must be vetted before they are voted in.

Datuk Sieh Kok Chi, a former national water polo player and long-time Olympic Council of Malaysia secretary, said there should be a criteria for those aspiring to hold key positions in sports associations.

Those who helm sports organisations in Malaysia are mostly politicians and businessmen who have little or no knowledge of sports.

“The whole (sports) structure in (Malaysia is) wrong,” said Sieh.

“Most of the time, out of the 14 or so state affiliates, only a handful are performing. So these officials will vote for those who will benefit them instead of the sport.”

Maninderjit, had during the weekly talkshow The RSS with HD over the weekend, said those interested in becoming Malaysian Hockey Confederation president should have at least played hockey at state level for five years; served an affiliate for 10 years; or bring commercial value to the sport.

Sieh added those who run academies and clubs should also have a say.

“At present, they can’t get into the structure. Once you start your own training centre, you need to register a club with the Sports Commissioner’s Office and when the club becomes successful, people will want to take over.

“This has become a culture. Officials will switch organisations to suit their agendas. Frogs are not only in politics but sports as well.”

Former Perlis Menteri Besar Datuk Seri Shahidan Kassim wore numerous hats in the past, including president of Malaysia Amateur Athletics Union (as the Malaysian Athletics Federation was then known), Perlis FA president, Amateur Swimming Union of Malaysia president, Kabaddi Association of Malaysia president and was part of the FA of Malaysia. His contributions to the sport have been questionable as the standard of the respective sports remained stagnant, if not worsened, over the years.

“True, not all athletes can become good administrators but they must be given a chance. There are those who are trained and qualified but are not holding any positions.”

Sieh also took issue with the “voters”.

“The voters are the problem. They are not sports people. Just look at the officials at state level.”

He said associations should have guidelines in their constitution to limit the tenure of the president, an age limit, and an annual report detailing the performance of the officials made public.

“I suggested a performance report for officials during my time in OCM but it never took off. I hope we will finally see this as officials must be kept in check,” he added.