OCM chief slams deputy sports minister’s ‘lazy statement’ over alleged corruption in sports bodies

It was his first press conference today, one that did not go down well with certain quarters.

Newly minted Deputy Youth and Sports Minister Adam Adli (main image) was red-carded after he was quoted this morning as saying that most of the time, there was an element of corruption within sports associations in Malaysia.

Adam, however, did not elaborate further on the issue of corruption affecting sports associations in the country.

Olympic Council of Malaysia (OCM) president Tan Sri Norza Zakaria expressed displeasure over Adam’s statement.

“His statement is unfair … to say that sports associations are not governed properly. In fact, it’s a lazy statement,” said Norza.

“It’s best that he start by engaging stakeholders and coming up with something beneficial. We are tired of people coming in every few months, and telling us what to do.”

Political instability had plagued Malaysia since the 2018 general election, resulting in the changing of the guard at Menara KBS in Putrajaya on numerous occasions. Over the past four years, there have been four ministers and four deputy ministers.

“He should look at his own ministry first … ensure there are no leakages. It’s best he makes the system efficient first,” Norza added.

In 2016, the Youth and Sports Ministry was rocked by the RM107 million embezzlement scandal. In 2018, then deputy Youth and Sports minister Steven Sim said the ministry was number 8 out of 25 ministries in which corruption was a big problem, citing weaknesses in the procurement and payment process.

The ministry has also not made public the financial details of the 2017 SEA Games. Additionally, recommendations by the Podium Programme Enhancement Committee, which suggested among other things, for a forensic audit to be carried out on the multi-million ringgit Podium Programme, have been shelved.

In Malaysia, sports associations are registered under the Sports Commissioner’s Office – an agency under the Youth and Sports Ministry. The OCM, meanwhile, serves as an umbrella body for all national organisations that are affiliated with their international federations.

Norza also took Adam to task for not justifying his statement.

“It (the statement) was a cheap shot. There’s no justification, no examples given. Tell us who they are. It’s unfair to associations that are properly run and managed, including those managed by volunteers,” added Norza, who is president of the Badminton Association of Malaysia and the Royal Malaysian Polo Association.

“If the deputy minister is really serious, he should go down (to the ground) and get his hands dirty to fully understand how sports associations are run.”

Main image: Youth and Sports Ministry of Malaysia