Citizen Nades - Drop the race card

09 Aug 2016 / 20:31 H.

    “So after 25 years of presenting the many wonderful and not so wonderful facets of Malaysian sports, I have decided to bow out because I choose not to be part of the total politicisation of sports – its total corruption.
    “From football to cricket, the game has been compromised. Sold out, lock, stock and barrel and I fear, I too will become tainted if I stay.
    “The final straw which broke the proverbial camel’s back is the creeping malevolence of racism which has taken a stranglehold on our sports.”
    – Fauzi Omar, columnist and editor.
    (June 27, 2000)
    DAYS after these words were published, Malaysians were wondering what Fauzi was talking about. After all, at that time, he had a huge following. Those in the know understood his reasons. He had written a glowing tribute to Mokhtar Dahari, he had also made scathing comments on football and sometimes its administrators and above all, he wrote with passion.
    One conversation still remains vividly in my mind. Fauzi had written about seeing our officials in tears after losing the bid to host an international event. And Malaysians were led to believe that they were not crocodile tears.
    But he then told us cynically: “Do you think they were crying because we lost the bid? No, they were crying because they would not have the power to award the contracts to their cronies!”
    After more than 16 years, has anything changed? From sports, the ugly heads of racism and lack of integrity have moved to other spheres of Malaysian life. It has worsened at such a pace that even the law enforcers have failed to keep up.
    From applications for licences to development projects, they have all been tainted with what else but money. The increasing number of cases being reported in the media is evident that there is no fear but wanton greed. How else would you explain someone receiving a debit card worth RM1.5 million knowing very well its use could be traced?
    In the name of sports, money has been squandered if not stolen – by the millions. There’s much more to be made with Malaysia becoming host to regional and international tournaments.
    Many have already lined up or are preparing to line up for the spoils. A new identity has emerged in sports – event manager. The official is the organiser and the son is the event manager. Sounds familiar?
    What happened to the spirit of volunteerism? It is non-existent because now you have committees and sub-committees, whose members get all kinds of allowances. Gone are the days when one attends meetings in someone’s house after work.
    Former Malaysian Hockey Federation secretary Datuk G. Vijayanathan’s autobiography aptly describes some episodes of his more than 50 years with the game as a volunteer. While working as a financial clerk in the Selangor Education Department, he also doubled up as the organising secretary of the 1975 World Cup.
    In the days when computers and email were not heard of, Viji used to do his duties by depositing the monies received for the day after which he would drop in at the post office to post letters which he had typed at home.
    When Malaysia won the bid to host the 1998 Commonwealth Games, someone remarked: “No need for all the committees. Get Viji, (Sieh) Kok Chi (former secretary of the Olympic Council of Malaysia) and Paul Money (the secretary of the Football Association of Malaysia). Give them a typewriter each and a cyclostyling machine with lots of stencils. They will make it happen.”
    Despite a full-time secretariat with paid staff, the organisers of the games haven’t produced the accounts after 18 years. This speaks volumes of good governance practised by some sports organisations.
    Day after day, we hear of the “need to promote racial harmony” and the like. This has become an over-used cliché and some of the government leaders who make these profound statements appear to be speaking with forked tongues depending on whom they are addressing.
    We have had dialogues, seminars, get-togethers and even lately, a walk for harmony. Yes, get your T-shirts and goodie bags in the morning, have a nice chat and in the afternoon, go back to the old ways.
    What has happened to this country? Why have we come to this stage? What went wrong in the intervening years? Why have mind-sets changed? Is materialistic wealth the end all and be all of life? Like almost all of you, dear readers, I too, am searching for answers.
    R. Nadeswaran yearns for a clean, efficient and trustworthy system so that all Malaysians can enjoy a better quality of life. Comments:

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