TAN Sri Mohd Al-Amin Abdul Majid wants to become the Badminton Association of Malaysia (BAM) president after serving as the acting president for the last two years. The 62-year-old has been with the association since 1994. He was also the Malaysian chef-de-mission at the Rio Olympic Games. Al-Amin, who likes to take a diplomatic approach in the handling of issues and problems, speaks
to STARSPORT’s RAJES PAUL about his mission and vision for BAM should the council give him the mandate to lead for the new term – 2017-2021.
Q: Can you explain your decision to seek the BAM presidency? Are you qualified to run the BAM?
A: It’s not for me to decide whether I’m qualified to run for the presidency of BAM. It’s for the council (who meet on April 8 during the Malaysian Open in Kuching) to decide. My involvement in BAM goes back a long way. I’ve been with BAM since 1994. In 1997, I served as the honorary secretary. After 2000, I was elected as one of the vice-presidents. In 2011, I became one of the deputies and in 2015, I was tasked with being the acting president. With all this experiences, I feel that it’s a good time to offer myself for the presidency.
I feel that I’m more ready than before. There were a lot of other obligations in the past like my businesses – I’m the chairman of small and medium enterprises ... all these took its toll. I’m slowly divesting some of my interests. I’ll have more time to focus on the association.
The election takes place every four years. The process is simple. The proposal comes from the floor. If there’s more than one proposal, an election will take place, The council will decide on April 8 on the date for the election. It has to be done with a three-week notice. It could take place between end of April and June. Let the council decide.
Q: What is your vision for badminton in Malaysia?
A: Over the years, there have been ups and downs in Malaysian badminton. But there has been a semblance of progression over the last few years. The structure has been properly laid out. Results are slowly coming through the system. But with badminton being the No. 1 sport in the country, expectations are always there. It’ll never be enough. Being in three finals at the Rio Olympics is a great achievement. We were only expected to win a medal in men’s singles, but we did well in men’s doubles and mixed doubles as well. We did even better than China ... although, of course, we did not win the gold medal. So, winning a gold at the next Olympic Games is a must. We must look at our shortcomings in Rio and get it right in Tokyo.
Q: Tell us some experiences you’ve had in running other sport associations and dealing with their administration?
A: I’m not that fortunate as I’ve only been involved in badminton. I started with Perak badminton, then focused at the national level and, since 2011, I’ve been the Badminton Asia vice-president. All my focus has been on badminton and that has given me much insight into the sport’s development.
Q: In your opinion, what ails badminton in Malaysia?
A: I would say that it has to do with the players’ lifestyle. People are contented nowadays. They have an easy life ... are easily satisfied, complacent and lack the drive.
It’s hard to find someone like Lee Chong Wei. They may be as talented as him, but don’t have the discipline, desire and drive to go endure hard training.
Just look at Carolina Marin of Spain. How can Spain produce a world-class player with such a small pool of talent? She has the talent and the system provided her with a place to grow, but the girl wanted more. Her reward has been Olympic and world titles. This is something for BAM to look into. We want our players to be driven. I’m happy that our seniors did well at the Olympic Games ... that should motivate our younger generation of players to emulate them.
Q: BAM president Tengku Mahaleel has named a successor to take over from him. In this context, he has publicly declared that there was a “Gentleman’s Agreement”. Do you agree that it should be followed? If not why?
A: Yes, from the letter I received there was an agreement between Tengku Mahaleel and Datuk Seri Norza (Zakaria). But I want to put on record that I’m not party to it. I wasn’t there when they had the agreement. I mean I wasn’t present. How to get into an agreement when I wasn’t there? But Tengku Mahaleel has the right to have his view on who is the better person to take over. I respect that.
I’m of the opinion that we should let the natural processes take place during the AGM (annual general meeting). The council will decide. Let them look into the suggestions or the proposals for someone to be elected. All of us serve voluntarily in this association. I’ve offered my services ... it’s up to the council to choose their leader. I’ve always believed in consensus. I’ve been here for years ... it’s not about the individual. We work together and support our programme. That has brought the association to where we are today.
Q: What would your first task be if you are elected president?
A: I’ll sack some people! (bursting into laughter). Of course not, I’m a gentleman. My first task is to put the right people in the right places in terms of the organisation. We function through many roles – like directors, coaches and administrators. We’ll focus on areas that need to be strengthened. Nothing is seriously wrong. We just need to re-look how some of our programmes achieve certain KPIs. We also have to speed up the processes. Sports is dynamic and people want fast results.
Q: What will be your long and short-term goals?
A: It’s still premature to lay down everything in detail. I have plans, but I need a good team to work with for the vision and mission that I have for BAM. Ultimately, we want badminton to be the No. 1 sport, produce results, continue to enjoy good support and draw sponsors. We need to look into players, coaches and sparring issues. I’m also keen on focusing on the Olympic Games gold, World Championships, Asian Games – titles that have eluded us for a long time. I’m also toying with an idea to form a project team.