IN January, I was in Sibu to cover the Malaysian Masters. Last month, I was in Bintulu for a church event. Now, I’m in Kuching for the Malaysian Open.
So, Sarawak is like a second home to me.
And one thing I find that these three places have in common is food.
Laksa Sarawak, kolo mee, umai (like sushi), midin belacan (a type of vegetable), ayam pansuh, banana cheese, kueh chap ... and the list goes on.
They are all tasty, though some may not like them.
As they say, one man’s meat may be another man’s poison. It’s all about what you like.
And that brings me to the upcoming election in the Badminton Association of Malaysia (BAM).
The council will have to choose a new head as incumbent president Tengku Tan Sri Mahaleel Tengku Ariff’s four-year term is up.
There are two candidates vying for the hot seat – acting president Tan Sri Al-Amin Abdul Majid and deputy president Datuk Seri Norza Zakaria.
So, who is the right man for the job?
Let’s see now.
The 62-year-old Al-Amin has served BAM faithfully since 1996.
Under his leadership, Malaysia enjoyed their best-ever result at the Rio Olympics with Lee Chong Wei (men’s singles), Goh V Shem-Tan Wee Kiong (men’s doubles) and Chan Peng Soon-Goh Liu Ying (mixed doubles) bagging silver medals.
His style of leadership is non-confrontational. He is very diplomatic in his dealings and always tries to find a win-win situation.
The younger Norza, in contrast, is more gung-ho.
Since taking over the coaching and training (C&T) committee in 2015, the 51-year-old Norza has patched up many structural loopholes and revived the coaching and training system into a vibrant programme.
He had a hand in Malaysia’s success at the Olympic Games too – ensuring solid training for the shuttlers and looking into the players’ emotional and financial needs as well.
He was also there to help Chong Wei get through his eight-month doping ban.
Both are leaders with different styles, managing skills and ideologies.
But they have one thing in common – their love for the game and the association’s best interests.
It’s now up to the council’s ‘taste-bud’ to decide who they want.
Is it the hands-on and dynamic Norza, who will bulldoze his way through to make tough but needed changes and wield the axe on the deadwood states?
Or will they stay loyal to Al-Amin, who has promised to inject new ideas in a bid to instil the new generation of players with greater desires to be world-class players?
The council meet today in Kuching to set a date for the annual general meeting (AGM), probably on April 29.
But, more than that, they will be making up their minds on who will be their new president.
They will get a chance to hear both these candidates spell out their plans, visions and missions.
As a traditional practice, the council will try to avoid a contest. Should there be a contest, a voting system via secret ballot is set to be exercised.
Today’s platform is crucial for the council to make a wise, informed and collective decision that will benefit the sport.
Whoever they choose, unity among the members is something that must be upheld at all times.
Now, that’s food for thought for the council members.
The writer has seen a few presidents come and go over the last 20 years. She respects Tan Sri Mohd Nadzmi Mohd Salleh for his openness and no-nonsense approach. She also keeps in touch with former KL mayor Tan Sri Elyas Omar, who she admires for his passion for the game.