THE principal custodians of Malaysian golf, as well as other national sports associations, have been urged to engage reform for the betterment and furtherance of development.
The call was made by the Deputy Youth and Sports Minister Steven Sim Chee Keong while officially launching this year’s US$7mil CIMB Classic in Kuala Lumpur.
“Sports as you all know is widely seen a universal expression of competition towards excellence, fair play, justice and integrity,” said Sim. “And as such, whatever we do and invest in sport, it will eventually reverberate into values for our community and country.
“So let us strive together, as the government, corporate sector and sports community, to pursue excellence in sports by creating healthy and mutually benefitting relationships.”
Sim said that he met various sports associations “where one single sport has two or three different associations.
“My take on the past month (in office) is for all to focus on development and try to set aside the politics within your association. Others will definitely support when it comes to (sports) development.”
Reform in government (policy) and sports associations was what was needed, he implored.
“Our message to them (the national associations) is reconcile, because if you are all in it for sport and love the sport, I see no reason why you should not reconcile, unless you have an ulterior interest or agenda.”
Sim said the tripartite partnership between the government, national sports associations and the corporate sector was vital for progress to be made.
He added that the “corporate sector can play a substantial role in driving sports development in Malaysia.”
And he added: “I hope more corporations will come forward to do what CIMB are doing, especially through events like the CIMB Classic, the only US PGA Tour event in South-East Asia.”
“This sort of commitment, like CIMB’s,” he said, “helps bring to Malaysia world-class tournaments and events that galvanise our athletes via international exposure.
“Secondly, while there are efforts made to host big events, corporate efforts in the direction of grassroots development is still lacking.
“But I’m happy to note that in our discussion with the CIMB team, I was informed the company has actively been taking part in supporting grassroots development in the country. I hope that more corporate citizens will come forward with the same.”
In his comments at the launch, CIMB Group chief executive officer Tengku Datuk Sri Zafrul Aziz said that they were pleased to note that the CIMB Classic, which was inaugurated in 2010, had “helped raise the profile of Malaysia to a global audience of over one billion homes in 226 countries via live television broadcasts annually.
“It has also helped grow the game in Malaysia by inspiring and providing opportunities for Malaysian professional golfers,” said Zafrul.
He added that apart from the sponsorship for golf, CIMB were also active in the support of cycling and squash, among others.
Speaking at the same occasion, US PGA Tour vice-president and executive director Todd Rhinehart said they looked forward to another “wonderful experience” when some of the world’s best players – proven champions and rising stars – visit TPC Kuala Lumpur for the showdown from Oct 11 to 14.
“There will be world-class golf, but that won’t be all,” said Rhinehart, who is based in Kuala Lumpur. “We will offer numerous activities for everyone in the family to enjoy.”
He added that CIMB had “proven to be a terrific partner for the PGA Tour. And our players always enjoy coming over to Malaysia”.
Defending champion Pat Perez has confirmed he will return to defend his title.
The CIMB Classic is co-sanctioned by the US PGA Tour, the Asian Tour and Professional Golf Association of Malaysia (PGAM). It features a no-cut field of 78 players. The players available from the top 60 of the previous season’s FedExCup points standings get the first option of refusal, as do the top 10 from the Asian Tour’s money list. There are also eight sponsors’ exemptions that include two Malaysians.
One will be the top Malaysian in the world rankings as of Oct 1 and the other, the winner of the CIMB National Championships to be held from Sept 25 to 28 at TPC Kuala Lumpur.
Also at the launch was Tourism Malaysia chairman Datuk Ahmad Shah Hussein Tambakau and CIMB’s CEO of Commercial Banking and Asset Management & Investments Effendy Shahul Hamid, who also doubled as the moderator on the day.