Minister wants a Malaysian to be on top of Podium

KUALA LUMPUR: Youth and Sports Minister Syed Saddiq Syed Abdul Rahman wants the Podium Programme to be helmed by a Malaysian.

He believes there are capable local candidates to succeed Tim Newenham following the latter’s resignation as the Podium Programme director on Wed-nesday.

Newenham quit the post after the Malaysian contingent’s failure to meet a top-10 finish among the competing nations at the two major Games this year – the Common-wealth Games in Gold Coast in April and the recent Asian Games in Indonesia.

Although the ministry is not in a hurry to seek Newenham’s successor, Syed Saddiq said he would prefer to appoint a local of high calibre to head the programme which was launched in 2016.

“My personal preference is a local but the key is to find a capable person,” said Syed Saddiq.

“There is a huge pool of talents (capable sports officials) in the country. These officials have vast experiences in sports development and some have brought glory through sports.”

But he said the candidate may not necessary be a former athlete.

“We’ll hold a transparent selection process so that no questions will be raised on the appointment,” he said.

“We are going to get the right person for the job, someone who really has what it takes to win us that elusive gold medal at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.”

Syed Saddiq, in accepting Newenham’s resignation, stressed that the Englishman should not be made a scapegoat over Malaysia’s performances at the Gold Coast Commonwealth Games and Indonesia Asian Games.

“I don’t think it’s right to put the blame on one person or certain individuals. I noticed that after the Asian Games, everyone is playing the blame game and are pointing fingers at others,” he said.

“I also have to shoulder the responsibility, although I’m still new. I’m accountable together with the NSC (National Sports Council), the NSI (National Sports Institute), and the national sports associations. It’s a collective responsibility and we must move forward.”

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Syed Saddiq mulls change in Podium Programme

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