It is a corporate principle never to retain the same person on the same job for too long a period. Even at military service the commander of the troops who has led the attack is not retained after the victory to undertake post victory developments. The rationale in both these instances is to ensure a new set of people handle matters with fresh ideas without being bogged down with past dilemmas. Of course there are other reasons, but in a nutshell the essence revolves around the point of fresh face, fresh ideas and fresh thinking. Essentially it removes the mundane outlook of a person who has been there too long or had to struggle with pride and prejudice to secure the position.
This brings me to the thinking in National Sports Council (NSC). This is an organisation which has a vital role in Malaysian sports and the Government has entrusted them to do the necessary job. In general and up to most recent times they have been doing a fairly satisfactory job. However the world of sports has moved on while NSC has not kept pace. The difficulty that NSC has is that it is a "close service" except for the PTD officers who were seconded. At the present moment that is not the case. This has resulted in the "in-breeding" of ideas as NSC seems to be "stale" in thoughts as the same people year after year are handling the same job notwithstanding whether there is continuous failure or success.There is this attitude of having seen and heard it all and therefore there is no further need to indulge any deeper to resolve the issues even if the matter comes up again and again. The challenge seems to have faded away and there is this notion of just wanting to spend the money so long as the "paperwork" for it is furnished.
The issues get compounded if the matter has the support or patronage of a VIP or VVIP. All aspects of the merits of the case are completely lost in the decision making process as the "standing" of the personality dictates the approval or non-approval process including quantum of support. It is this compromise that has compromised the standard of sports in the country and for the wealth the Government has spent in sports the returns do not seem to reciprocate. A lot of this blame must be shared by the NSC, as much as the National Sports Associations (NSAs).
The NSC depends on the NSAs and this is where the NSAs drag the NSC down the "garden path" with all their promises and gloating figures. NSC on the other side do not do their homework and either get carried away or just become an obstacle depending on who is represented in the NSAs. The failure to analyse the strength and weakness of proposals and question the wisdom of targets including placing achievable commitments on NSAs seem to be something missing in NSC. Time and time again NSAs give their so called commitments and NSC takes it lightly and permits them to repetitively miss their targets without doing anything about it. The next time they come around the same cycle continues. There is this lack of accounting for failure and the necessary steps taken by the NSAs to remedy the scenario. Equally too when it comes to sustaining success.
A lot of this has to do with whether NSC has the right qualified people who have the passion to do the job beyond just earning the salary and the benefits that accrue with it. This is sports and there has to be that passion ie the pride that the "Jalur Cemilang" must be hoisted as one of the winning flags at every world sporting arenas where the country is a participant. I have no doubts that the staff in the NSC has that intention but it does not follow in actions. If they do, then most of the NSAs would have a "dreadful" time with NSC , for then NSC is properly undertaking its task. Today the "kawan kawan" concept and anything and everything is possible has brought more disappointment to Malaysian sports.
I want to use Malaysian hockey as examples to illustrate some of the factors that may have contributed to the declining status of that sport in the country. 1stly, the principal personality who has been the main person in hockey at NSC has been having that responsibility for the last 15 years. Year in and year out he sits in MHF and at the joint meetings and briefs his bosses. Although technically now he holds a different position but because he used to be a former Junior national player, the wisdom for continuity allows him to take the responsibility for hockey. The very reason why he is there itself is the weakness in the system. He was in the management of the national teams that failed in the Junior World Cups. More importantly, in the greater part of his tenure of taking responsibility for hockey in NSC, it seems to have corresponded with the failure of Malaysian hockey to qualify for 2 World Cups and 2 Olympics.
I must state categorically that he is not directly responsible or intentionally undertook things to ensure of Malaysia's failures but rather his continuous presence reflects the failure in the system in NSC to bring about changes of introducing a fresh face with fresh ideas and thoughts. NSC continuing to use him in that position is doing injustice to the game and to the staff itself. If anything, they should have sent the staff on further training or postgraduate to refresh himself and then re-introduce him to the hockey scenario in NSC. This dogma of maintaining the same staff for years over to take charge of the same sports is completely a "dumb founding" policy in NSC. Is it because they do not want to rotate the staff responsibilities or are there other reasons that is not glaring to outsiders?
Sports is a dynamic process and people taking charge must also move with time. Usually new or younger blood is brought for fresh thinking or the older staff are send for training or secondment to broaden their horizons. Unfortunately, the person for hockey in NSC has suffered on both accounts since he has been put in-charge hockey for years. It is also this period that Malaysian hockey commenced its journey to doldrums. This is an absolute failure in the structure of NSC for not recognising the need to rotate their staff in charge of various sports rather than permitting them to stagnate in the same sports for years.
2ndly, NSC has this pathetic outlook of trying to accommodate people irrespective of whether they have the track record. Sometimes people may not have the track record but the subsequent training and re-training they receive to enhance their position may be vital to sustain their position. This is an area that NSC has overlooked and it would seem Malaysian hockey is paying the price.
A coach responsible for the Malaysian Junior World Cup team about 10 years ago was part of the failure when that team finished last at the 2001 Junior World Cup in Tasmania. Despite this he was maintained in NSC payroll including when he failed to pass his FIH coaching session. Still he remained and now he is the coach for the Malaysian women's team for the World Cup qualifiers in Chile. The point being is he the right man for Malaysian high performance hockey? Nothing was done further with this coach to enhance his position and that compromise may have comprised the standard of Malaysian hockey.
There is no doubt that the coach may have the passion for coaching in hockey but does he fit the profile as a national coach for the women's team. Maybe because of his passion, he is better with development rather than high performance team? The failure of NSC to analyse and comprehend these things may have compromised Malaysian sports. It is the lack of proper expertise in NSC that is creating such unnecessary scenarios that has put Malaysian sports in an non-achievable climate.
If NSC does not adopt the principles of excellence, how can it preach and implement excellence in sports. It is the lack in qualities of excellence in NSC that is creating the syndrome of why most of Malaysian sports is not achieving world class standards despite the substantial sum of monies that has been spent. Time has come that NSC needs a proper re-engineering and major revamp to position itself to take on sports to world class or not Malaysia shall just remain a mediocre nation in sports.