New hierarchy takes over

Chong is president of the PGAM.

THE Professional Golf Association Malaysia (PGAM) has a new hierarchy that aims to turn around the fortunes of the organsiation and put it on an even keel.

This comes after the association held its annual general meeting earlier this week and elected CM Chong its new president.

Among the organisation’s primary tasks is to look after the interests of Tour players and golf teachers or instructors.

Chong cliched the presidency in a tight three-way battle that saw him oust incumbent Harris Zainal by just two votes and see off the the challenge of Periyono Dolsalim by three votes, having garnered 24 votes himself.

Arumugam Vengadasalam and Shaifubari Muda are the two vice-presidents, having tallied 44 and 39 votes, respectively, while Adam Shaw managed 21.

The Touring Council members elected to office are M Sasidaran (50 votes), Lim Ai Lian (46) and Wilson Choo (35), while Faridil Atras (48), Aaaron Ng (45) and Hosni Hosey M Sofian (35) will serve as Vocational Council members for the two-year term.

Speaking to TeeUp after his election to office, Chong shared some of his thoughts and plans for his tenure and among them, said he would like to see a greater engagement with the association’s membership. Of the 350-plus members, about 100 are Tour players, with most of the rest being teaching pros.

Chong takes over from Zainal, who was in office for five years. The new man at the helm said he stood for election because he feels he can “help out” the association.

The master professional coach operating out of TPC Kuala Lumpur added that he was looking forward to the challenge.

Following are excerpts of the interview:

Q: Besides the election of new office bearers, what were some of the other key issues discussed at the annual general meeting this week? A: We went through our agenda of passing minutes, accepting accounts and the President’s address, before going into a couple of minor changes to the constitution.

Q: As a long-time member of the association and Tour player-cum golf coach, what is the present state of the PGAM in your personal view?

A: Yes, a long-standing member and former Tour player, I must say that I imagined the PGAM to be in a different place. But like so many things in life, they are not always what they seem or should be.

Q: What do you think will be some of the key areas and/or programmes and projects that you will tackle during your term of office?

A: We have quite a few programmes that could still be implemented during these tough times. With a bit of help, we could get our ideas up and running (hopefully) by the end of the second quarter of this year.

Q: Could you maybe share some thoughts on how you will be hoping to tackle some of these?

A: The strength of the PGAM has always laid in the background of our members. I would say we have a versatile group with numerous expertise. Hence, our tasks are to continue creating opportunities by bridging gaps within or outside our industry.

Q: What is the current financial state of the association, generally, and how do you aim to maintain it (if its okay) or maybe better it?

A: The current financial state of the PGAM is dire. We need to gather ourselves and think outside the box. A probable way here is to involve the general public. I foresee certain programmes that can be targeted in this direction.

Q: You’ll no doubt be getting in touch with the National Sports Council (NSC) and the Sports Ministry to introduce yourselves as the new committee, how soon do you think this will take place or has something already been done about it? A: We have sent our AGM report to the Sports Council for their approval and will definitely be planning a meeting with Ibrahim Mohd Yusof, the Sports Commissioner soon.

Q: There appeared to be some sort of wedge between the PGAM and Professional Golf of Malaysia (PGM) Tour with regards to tournament/player fees, do you see this continuing now that you have taken over and/or will you be contacting the PGM to try and resolve the aforementioned? A: We have always wanted a good relationship with the PGM Tour. Thus, this is definitely on our list of things to do.

Q: Also, from your standpoint, what do you consider the most important components and tasks of the association that lie ahead? A: I believe that my council is very capable and I am confident that with a collective effort we can get moving without delay and set a solid course of action by year-end. My council and I have the ability to gel and this will be our strength moving forward.

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