In the early 1970s, when the Sports Division of the then Ministry of Sports, Youth & Culture was contemplating the setting up of the National Sports Council (NSC), their principal focus was the upliftment of sports in the country by providing assistance or undertaking programmes with the intention of popularising sports and thereby making life easier and simpler for sportsmen, officials, and administrators. The Sports Planners then were mainly former Olympians, renowned coaches, dedicated teachers and of course the far sighted civil servants, who in their sporting days went through trying times including spending their own monies and taking their own holidays or having "no paid" leave to don the national or state colours. It was this level of sacrifices that the Planners had undergone which made them to commit that the future generation of sportsman and officials would not go through or face such struggles as they had to face. A genuine desire to have an outfit that serves sports in a meaningful manner that permits sportsmen to concentrate on sports rather than be distracted with the other "bread & butter" issues.
This saw the birth of the National Sports Council (NSC) and the core team involved on the day to day aspects of its operations were made up of the same people who had the "heart" for sports and above all who had gone through the "mill" as Olympians, successful coaches or dedicated government servants with sporting background. It was a welcome change and there was a minimum of problems because everybody spoke a common language ie sports. NSC was endeavouring to facilitate life for sportsmen and their National Sports Associations (NSAs), thereby addressing various pertinent issues that improved the all round quality.
In those days NSC was very thoughtful and purposeful. Monies were spend on worthy causes. It was not only quantity they were interested in but also quality. They could not be pressurised to part with resources unless there was a justifying need. They remained steadfast to their Vision and their Objectives. For many years they were proud that their reserve funds of RM$300m remained intact until a Sports Minister (now not in Cabinet) in her tenure utilised most of it. Unfortunately there was nothing much in terms of results for us to feel proud about. It seems to reflect wasteful of resources.
While that may in some ways curtail the extent of help NSC can extend, still NSC endeavours to aid and abet the sporting front. They are ever ready to be of assistance either in a small or big way depending on the sports, its success rate and of course the people behind it.
The original modus operandi of NSC was to act as a "bridge"for the NSAs and to assist them in developing the sports for which they are responsible. All these worked well when you had dedicated and passionate officials who had the best interest of the sports. With time NSAs had more politicians and royalties to helm them and the scramble for other positions in NSAs became an interesting development. More importantly many got involved to rub shoulders and have accessibility to the politicians and royalties. These therefore provided a shift in approach as NSC got directly involved with the day to day affairs of NSAs.
Some believe this may be justifiable as they find NSAs failure in developing sports and there also seems to be too much politicking. NSC became the saviour of the sports by applying the "stevedore" principle in getting things done. Sometimes to a point where people wonder if NSC literally runs the NSA. Maybe NSC's seemly intervention is all about saving the sports and they may be absolutely right.
On the other hand, it is only going to perpetuate a scenario where elected officials just sit and warm their chairs and allow NSC to pump the funds and get things done. Of course there are some elected officials who use their position in corporate organisation to sponsor events. Beyond that their participation is very nominal. Effectively this makes some of the NSAs lazy and the same is followed suit by their Affiliates. End of it we have elected officials in name but the major decisions and funding comes from NSC.
The good thing about all this is that the sports survives at least in the short term but in the long term we are not encouraging the creation of talents and passionate officials by the relevant NSAs. NSC now finds it difficult as their old Olympians, renowned coaches and dedicated civil servants had to make way to a new batch of officials. They are not the breed who had gone through the "mill" as the previous lot and they see things differently. They want quick results for the money they spend on the sport. So hiring and firing is a normal phenomenon in the new modus operandi of NSC. Although they may not be directly involved, it is their money and somewhere in the hazy situation of the NSA they have a major positional play.
People may choose to praise or be critical of NSC, but effectively they remain the guardian of Malaysian sports. They have a role and sometimes the failure of some of the NSAs permits the NSAs to become "parasites" to the generosity of NSC. In permitting this NSC must also realise that they are encouraging these NSAs to become lazy and thereby killing the future of that NSA plus its sports. They have to carefully decide which is the best approach or not it would seem some of the NSAs may become an extended part of NSC.
Part 2 shall be a brief case study.