Is busy minister Khairy the ride man?

IT’S really a sad state of affairs.

We have a lot of young athletes, several good coaches and, in Azizulhasni Awang, a world champion and a potential Olympics gold medallist who has already won a bronze in the Games.

But is there not one good administrator in Malaysian cycling?

Is there no one interested or qualified enough to take up the top post in the Negri Sembilan Cycling Association (NSCA)?

Not one? Not a former athlete, a dedicated schoolteacher, or even a passionate cycling enthusiast from grassroots level?

Apparently not.

On Sept 22, former Youth and Sports Minister Khairy Jamaluddin was unanimously elected as the president of NSCA.

Let’s make one thing clear. Khairy loves sports and he loves cycling. To many, he fits the bill, he’s athletic, he’s a hands-on person and he is well respected.

He was one of the better sports ministers we have had - in terms of executing plans, getting things going. He walked the talk during his tenure from May 16,2013 to May 10,2018 in some areas.

Even Azizulhasni tweeted to endorse his appointment.

But seriously, Khairy for the state-level post?

He is, after all, the Science, Technology and Innovation Minister and MP for Rembau.

Those are full-time jobs, with his salary paid by Joe Public, which he must do justice to.

He is a busy man. He already has plenty on his plate.

Khairy cannot possibly be a hands-on cycling supremo as well – even it’s just for a state, without any plans to go for a national-level position. How will he have time to revive cycling in the state?

A position as a patron would have made more sense.

State cycling is the heartbeat of the Malaysian sports system.

This is where aggressive development work should take place – unearthing talent, training of coaches, creating cycling hubs in districts, getting schoolchildren to pick up the sport and creating a safe environment for cyclists.

It’s tireless work that usually goes unnoticed – but quite fulfilling and rewarding when you see a star come through the ranks or when you see your sport catch on like a wildfire.

Even as things are, more time is being spent by most officials on strategising on how and who to become the office bearers.

Khairy is a national figure and he may be looking beyond leading the state association.

By virtue of being the state president, he can contest for the top post of the Malaysian National Cycling Federation (MNCF).

Current MNCF president, Datuk Abu Samah, who was investigated for alleged abuse of power by the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) early this year before being released, is unlikely to continue when his term is up next year.

Abu Samah has led the association for 30 years and under him there had been several eyebrow-raising issues.

In fact, even Khairy reprimanded MNCF for misuse of funds when he was the sports minister.

If Khairy is elected as the MNCF president, it can also eventually pave the way for him to be the Olympic Council of Malaysia (OCM) president.

Last year, he attempted to become the Malaysian Paralympic Council (MPC) head but his nomination was submitted a day after the closing date, which ruled him out on a technicality.

There really should be rules that prevent cabinet ministers from taking up top positions in sports associations.

If Khairy is a no-go, who then?

Of course, the hope is for Azizul or any other committed cycling enthusiasts, who have gone through the system from the grassroots to national level, to be the state or national level president one day.

A name like Josiah Ng comes to mind. Or M. Kumaresan, and Rosman Alwi.

People like Khairy could back them up.

That might just be the way we could ride to success.

> The writer is also concerned over the discord among the sports administrators in national associations like the Malaysia Karate Federation (Makaf) and Malaysian Gymnastics Federation (MGF). When will all this end?

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