Wednesday, October 27, 2010

If voting changed anything, they'd make it illegal

More than anything else, the Malaysian Hockey Federation is in dire need of a change IN men rather than just a change OF men.

Malaysian hockey is crying for new inspiration and motivation which can only be provided by fresh faces with the moral fibre and strength of character to force the necessary changes. The revolution has to be in the new ideas and commitment these men bring, not returning to office or voting in those who promise more of the same indifference and ineptiude. 

There is no need to belabour the plight hockey is in. It is there for all, except the blinkered men who run MHF, to see.  The humiliation in New Delhi will be repeated in Guangzhou next month and we will be fed the usual ration of bull by the MHF fat cats.

How much longer must Malaysians put up with this nonsense as the country slips further into obscurity. The current state of hockey is an insult to former MHF leaders like Tun Abdul Razak, Sultan Azlan Shah and others. It is an insult to former greats like A. Francis, Yang Siow Meng, Razak Leman, Poon Fook Loke, M. Mahendran, C. Paramalingam, the late Ho Koh Chye and Dato Yoges, who took the national team to such great heights. 

Most of all, it is an insult to all Malaysians.

But do the present MHF officials care? Do they share the same humiliation? Do they even have a sense of shame or responsibilty? Or are they so secure in their hide-bound exo-skeletons that they simply don't care? After all, their positions, won by whatever artifice possible, are secure.

Their indifference is nothing short of scandalous. Their ignorance even more so. It is the nation's pride at stake for heaven's sake.

But then again you only sow what you reap and the fault very much lies with those who voted these men into office, time and again, in the first place. Unkept pledges, promoting their henchmen, making decisions that will further damage the sport seem to be the key performance indicator as votes are being sought by dubious means.

Truth be told, like everything else in the country, politics has taken precedence over good governance. Every single day is spent backstabbing and maligning and sabotaging the efforts of rivals to the extent that the sport takes a backseat.

If only they expanded all that energy running the sport as they are supposed to. But then again, do they even know what needs to be done?

Allegations of vote-buying, threats, poison text messages, missing money from the coffers of MHF, seeking positions in companies as a trade off for support,  and other dirty tricks are rife as election day nears. You would think these candidates were vying for seats in the state assembly or parliament. It is downright unhealthy and revolting the lengths these people will go to. That alone should disqualify them from office.

That is why it is imperative that the delegates forget petty rivalries and vote for the most capable candidates this Sunday. Some of the officials have been around in hockey for so long that they have virtually become part of the furniture and just as inanimate.

But it takes courage to change and that is one commodity that Malaysian sport lacks.

Cronyism and patronage override all other considerations and the sport suffers. The quality of the national teams and the results are a damning indictment of the incumbents' bungling attempts at running MHF, yet they remain in office, hanging on to the President, even claiming that Tengku Abdullah's state by virtue of nominating them means an endorsement of their candidancy by the President himself.

More than the driftwood and deadwood, hockey needs men capable of doing the job. It is good that some former internationals have decided to join the fray. One or two of them should be given a chance to serve as MHF badly needs an infusion of fresh blood and ideas.

Most of the incumbents have had more than their share of chances and have been found wanting. Give the new candidates the opportunity to revive the sport. That is how things work in a fair and just society where failed officials are voted out for the greater good.

As elected guardians of hockey, the delegates are dutybound to put the sport above self and vote for the right candidates. They must remember that the sport's failure is their failure.

The hardest thing about any election campaign is how to win without proving that you are unworthy of winning.

Let us hope they don't let their states and the nation down again.