Wednesday, November 19, 2008

MHF - Conflict of interest and the universal principle of ethics

Why do National Sport Associations (NSAs), National Sports Council (NSC) and Sports Advisory Panel (SAP) exist separately? Each have their role and function and one should not attempt or endeavour to usurp the rights of the others including creating a conflict of interest which also infringes the universal principles of ethics.

Question what is a "conflict of interest" and"ethics"? These terms that are commonly used, and yet history has recorded that such terms are seldom understood. It probably explains the conflicts that has prevailed and will continue to prevail in the future.

To assist us to understand the terms"conflict of interest" and "ethics", what better way then by referring to "Wikipedia", the internet encyclopedia. There are many explanation for both the terms but the one i am looking for is as follows:
  • "Conflict if interest" - Anyone has 2 duties which conflicts.
  • "Ethics" - It is a major branch of philosophy encompassing right conduct and good life. Part of the term includes the study of what makes actions right or wrong.
Last weekend, the President of MHF, TM, named the Chairman of SAP as Chairman of the MHF's Wawasan Committee and the Director General of NSC as a member of the Wawasan Committee and another MHF 's Consultative Committee. Although both these gentlemen have yet to declare their acceptance, both must be careful. Their presences in the Committees may tantamount to a "conflict of interest" as their official duty may put them in that position.

Many may have various points to mitigate the matter but it is important that precedent should not be set, especially as we are not aware of what is going to happen in the future. So why invite any potential problems. More so as these gentlemen sit in very key official Government positions.

Even if we are prepared to fore go the issue of "conflict of interest", we also have to look into the issue of setting another precedent i.e having key Government officials and Minister's Adviser sitting in NSAs. Today it is MHF but tomorrow it could all the other NSAs. Do these officials have the time to perform both the duties?

They may mean well, but that could be the start of future problems. It is therefore essential these Government officials perform their official designated position properly and that itself would be of great contribution to Malaysian sports.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

As promised by TM, the new President of MHF to turn things around, drastic changes in the house keeping are seen whereby appointments of the various committees have been the week’s highlights.

It is extremely rare in Malaysian sports and never before in the history of Malaysian hockey that such many high profile individuals are appointed at once to embark on a project. I guess the bitterness of continues failures in 3 qualifier outing namely Madrid, China and Kakamigahara compelled the new President to take such drastic actions. The involvement of former MHF President and Deputy President, NSC and NSI Directors, SAP Chairman will hopefully cut the red tape and reduce the turn around time in the implementation of change. There appears to be some conflict of interest but on the other side of the coin, I believe most appointments are only at advisory level in the think tank committees as to ensure that there is no slip-up. This could also be due to the criticism that the relevant authorities did not take a pro-active role before.

With the announcement of hiring Kim Sang-ryul also ends the many months of speculation and doubts of a complete circle in the paradigm of change. Our interest in Kim nearly put him in hot sup with China Hockey Association since a Malaysian paper carried an article on Malaysian’s interest in him on the eve of the Beijing Olympic Games, where Kim was the Head Coach/Manager at the Beijing Olympic Games. What a COINCIDENCE !

With this announcement, the jigsaw-parcel is slowly taking place for the better. It is a sad situation where the 3 existing coaches, the partnership of 2 local coaches and a foreign goalkeeper coach has to come to an abort end. The assurance of a 6 year term was probably given to the coaching staffs by the old MHF. But we must remain focus and can only offer our empathy to the coaches in the interest of hockey and the country. The current MHF Council has decided not to give the green light, thus NSC even as paymaster will not be able to offer another 2 year term to the current coaching staff to at least see the team to the 2010 World Cup.

This decision made by the new MHF Council would appear to be very hasty if you are not a keen follower of hockey. However, one will understand this issue better if we turn the clock back and digest the whole issue in the right perspective without taking sides. In reality the big picture is even more tragic because the future of other local coaches to helm the national hockey team is extremely remote after this. The reputation and credibility of local coaches have been compromised.

Looking back at the open letter submitted by the group 102 to the Minister, it is very clear that the issues of course warrant this action. To reiterate, the decline of Malaysian hockey was only part of the “BIG” issue. The coaches’ work ethics and poor control of players for the past 2 years have directly contributed and invited such a decision to be taken.

The quest to look for a local assistant coach continues with the appointment of Kim. The question is, What sort of qualities are we looking for? Do we have a pool of ready functioning local candidates to choose from?

The NST, 21.11.09 – “NSC waiting for MHF to submit names of coaches” will be an interesting affair in the coming weeks. It is noted that for the past 4 years the development of coaches have been erratic. To recap the “old MHF” have failed to take the opportunities to groom or expose our local coaches in three occasions. In total 3 FIH coaching courses that was offered to Malaysia by FIH in conjunction with the 2007 and 2008 Sultan Azlan Shah Tournament, and one High Performance Course during the Champions Trophy was no taken up for unknown reasons. It would have eased the situation in these trying times but then again can high performance coaches be groomed or it is a god gifted skill where they are simply born?

From the MHL, few coaches will have the advantage as many have not been exposed to the national set-up or familiar enough with international practises. At the drastic rate of changes to the rules and game at international level it will take some time for our local breed to adjust before having the grasp at high performance coaching to manage an elite team effectively. The often spoke about German concept for 13 years is fading with regular choice of attacking approach which the national team is playing now without much consistency and concept.

With not many coaches readily available and only 4 FIH accredited coach in the “market”, MHF may as well opt for a stringent approach, for example the banking industry would use the 4 C’s of credit score approach as a tool to decide. Out of which, one of the MAJOR factors would be the CHARACTER of the potential coach.

It has been proven that not “all good players are good coaches”. The history of the candidate or an ex-national player in his playing days will automaticklly tells us what sort of values and approach he will instil to the players once he is in charge. Basically there is no rocket science to success!

Hopefully the new MHF will not be deceived again. The ability to segregate fact and fiction is critical. Again to believe and take “facts” through “word of mouth” in justifying the appointments of coaches at high performance level will be a mistake. Malaysia can’t afford the mistake of trail and error approach as it has been a very costly lesson!