THE appointment of Datuk Ismail Sabri Yaacob (pic) as the new Youth and Sports Minister came as a surprise to many. And the hope is that the Perbadanan Nasional Bhd chairman would give a new spin to the future of Malaysian sports. Sports are nothing new to Datuk Sabri. He is the Persekutuan Gasing Malaysia (Pegama) president and heheaded the National Stadium Board from 2003-06.
> National Sports Council (NSC) director general Datuk Zolkples Embong: I am sure that he will use his experience (in sports) to steer the ministry on the right direction. He has the right personality for the portfolio. He is soft-spoken but firm with his decision. He is open-minded and he listens to opinions. I was with him in the same stadium board and I am happy with his appointment.
> Olympic Council of Malaysia (OCM) secretary Datuk Sieh Kok Chi: I am sure that every new Sports Minister will do a great job. But my only hope is that for our new minister to engage better advisors to help him. I think it is important for the Sports Ministry to consult the OCM and the national sports associations (NSA) on a more regular basis. The people in the OCM and NSAs are very sincere. The last minister did not consult the OCM and NSAs as much as we would have liked her to do so.
> Malaysian Amateur Athletic Union (MAAU) deputy president Karim Ibrahim: I worked with him when he was the National Stadium Board chairman and find him as a dynamic person. He is dedicated and has a very good knowledge in sports. We will give him our full co-operation and hope that he would give more emphasis on the development of the eight core sports.
> Badminton Association of Malaysia (BAM) general manager Kenny Goh: We have always enjoyed very fruitful relationships with the ministry and we look forward to maintaining this tradition by giving our support to him.
> Malaysian Tenpin Bowling Congress (MTBC) secretary Sidney Tung: We just have to wait and see what our new sports minister plans to do. How he does his job will depend very much on what policies he wants to adopt. We do not know whether there will be any slash in funds or whether there would be an increase. Will he continue with the Sukan Teras or retain the eight-core sport programme?
> FA of Malaysia (FAM) general secretary Datuk Azzuddin Ahmad: My sincere wish is for Datuk Ismail to continue supporting all sports associations, especially after the good work left behind by Datuk Seri Azalina. We have also good support from the National Sports Council (NSC) and we hope to have a good working relationship.
> Malaysian Gymnastics Federation (MGF) secretary N. Shanmugarajah: He is not a newcomer to the world of sports. He was with the stadium board and had dealt with the NSAs. He knows the people and managing sport should not be a complex issue for him. I trust that he will do a good job.
> Malaysian Hockey Federation (MHF) secretary Hashim Mohd Yusoff: We have faith in his appointment as the new minister. We hope that he will continue with all the programmes, which were decided during the tenure of Datuk Seri Azalina. We hope that he will concentrate on the development of hockey in the country and also continue to support us in reaching for greater heights.
> Squash Racquets Association of Malaysia (SRAM) president Datuk A. Sani Karim: I had the pleasure to work along with him when he was chairman of the National Stadium Board. He is a wonderful guy to work with and I strongly believe he has the capacity to further contribute towards the great stride made in sports in the country. The last 10 years, we have had many sports gaining world recognition and I feel under the able leadership of Datuk Ismail, we will progress further. I am confident he will have no problem fitting into the system.
> Amateur Swimming Union of Malaysia (ASUM) secretary Edwin Chong: He is not new to sports. He was the chairman of the National Stadium Board and knows the requirements of sports. We will work with him to see more success in aquatics. We welcome him and believe that he will do a good job.