BACK in 2011, Datuk Ahmad Shabery Cheek was the Sports Minister. At his behest, a team of experts came here from the University of Stirling.
Led by Prof Leigh Robinson, they did studies on developing the Malaysian sports industry and on enhancing the capacity of national sports associations. And they presented their findings.
It’s learnt that more than RM2mil was spent on the studies.
Guess what? The findings are gathering dust.
The researchers came out with several recommendations after highlighting the same old problems in Malaysian sports - lack of facilities, lack of entrepreneur mindset, lack of passionate people running the programme in NSAs and a host of others.
The findings were not surprising. We all know how inefficient some of the NSAs already are!
They also noted the lack of coordination between the public authorities like National Sports Council (NSC), National Sports Institute (NSI), the Sports Commissioner’s office and the NSAs.
Not many officials even read it. Some don’t even know the report exists!
But it’s there in the archives.
A few years later in 2015, another study was done, this time by Brian Miller and his team. The Sports Minister was Khairy Jamaluddin.
How much did the study cost? No one really knows, it’s not like the ministry is open and transparent with its accounts and expenditures.
The second made comparisons with models from Australia, United Kingdom, Canada, and interviewed various sports stakeholders yet again.
And to be honest, the report is rather good.
There were some repetitions but there are some valid points too.
This study stressed a bigger role for NSAs, for NSI to give more emphasis on athletes and quality coaching; and for NSC’s role to be limited.
The study suggested a task force to execute the recommendations under three categorisations – and it was all about doing.
The categories were: to keep doing (things that are already working), to start doing (implement new ideas and strategies) and third was to stop doing (things that were ineffective).
And what did our implementers decide? Not to do anything!
That study is also in cold storage although some of the points were used to create the Podium Programme for elite athletes.
Unfortunately, that Programme has taken on several lives and is now under with yet another Sports Minister, Datuk Seri Reezal Merican Naina Merican.
And more studies are being done now.
Why do we keep reinventing the wheel?
Why are we going around in circles when what we need to do to save Malaysian sport is clearly there, and in writing.
Those studies cost millions. Yet, they are worthless without being put to good use.
One of the country’s longest serving sports officials, Datuk Sieh Kok Chi, just does not understand the mentality.
“We are not knowledge-driven. Evaluation like this is good but sometimes, we just don’t care. The studies will be beneficial as time, expertise and money have been invested, ” said the 82-year-old.
While others have ignored those studies, Kok Chi, although retired, is planning on educating others.
He knows there is no end to learning, and more so from one’s own mistakes.
Without a doubt, Kok Chi is a wise man to look up to indeed.
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