Poser over Sarawak Championship

Golf event

Is there a different set of rules for Sarawak when organising sporting events?

The organisers of the Sarawak Championship, an international event which ended last Sunday, did not make any application to the Sports Commissioner’s Office (SCO). This requirement is in line with the Sports Development Act and Sports Development (Licensing) Regulations. The event was not listed on the SCO’s website.

SCO list
List of events in August, as stated on the SCO’s website.

Only two events in August were approved by the SCO – Malaysia Speed Festival 2019 Round 2-6 (Aug 7-Aug 31) at Sepang International Circuit and World Squash Federation World Junior Women’s Team Championships (Aug 5-9) at the National Squash Centre in Bukit Jalil.

Even the Sarawak SCO was in the dark about the golf meet which was part of the Asian Tour and supported by the state’s Ministry of Tourism, Arts, Culture, Youth and Sports.

“We did not receive any application and were not informed of the event,” said Normala Razali, a state SCO official.

This is the second year Damai Golf and Country Club in Kuching hosted the event after the inaugural edition last year. Australian Andrew Dodt won this year’s Sarawak Championship.

It is understood event organisers work with the state government directly and do not submit any application to the SCO. The Sports Act states a company needs a licence from the Commissioner to be involved in any sporting activity in the country. Applications must be made at least 60 days before the date of the event while the timeframe is 90 days for international sporting activities.

Commenting on the matter, Asian Tour head of press operations and media partnerships Calvin Koh, had on Monday said: “I think that’s a question for the Sarawak government because for us, the event is definitely on our tour schedule. As seen on our official website, it’s sanctioned by the Asian Tour and supported by the state government. As to why we are not on the list, I think we are not in a position to comment.”

Koh went on to suggest that an email be sent so that “I can get in touch with the relevant people to get the right response”.

Twentytwo13 sent an email on the same day (Aug 19, 3.19pm) but had yet to receive a reply at press time.

Professional Golf Association of Malaysia (PGAM) president Valrick Harris Zainal Abidin said the association was only notified of the event two weeks before the meet.

“All applications (for international meets) must be 90 days before the event. PGAM cannot act against them but we will not reciprocate or we will reciprocate in the manner they have treated us. But the Youth and Sports Ministry (through SCO) can take action against them,” he added.

“Perhaps this was an afterthought for them (the organisers).”

Valrick said PGAM had updated SCO about the situation and the alleged non-compliance.

When pointed out that since SCO were informed about the matter earlier and if something untoward had occurred during the tournament, Valrick said: “It’s our duty to inform (the SCO). We can’t do anything beyond.”

Under the amended Sports Development Act, events must be approved by the commissioner and those who contravene the Act can be fined RM50,000 to RM500,000 and face jail terms of up to five years or both.

The amendments to the Act were passed last year following a mishap involving three runners who were hit by a car during the Klang City International Marathon on Dec 10, 2017.

Evelyn Ang, who was running in the marathon, suffered a cranial fracture and died on March 1, 2018 after being in coma.