PETALING JAYA: There’s a wind of change blowing through the Amateur Swimming Union of Malaysia (Asum).
Long-serving president Datuk Seri Dr Shahidan Kassim will be challenged for the first time – in 19 years – at Asum’s annual general meeting in Kuala Lumpur on Saturday.
And the man taking him on is Negri Sembilan Amateur Swimming Association supremo Zainal Othman.
Shahidan, who is also the Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department, has been Asum president since 1996.
He is also a former president of the Malaysian Amateur Athletic Union (MAAU) and former Mentri Besar of Perlis.
Zainal felt that it was time for a change because “I’m unhappy with the current state of affairs in Asum”.
“Under Shahidan, Asum have not had an exco meeting for one-and-a-half years. He is a government Minister and, frankly, does not have time to manage a sports association,” said the 55-year businessman from Port Dickson.
“I’d like a chance to lead Asum ... I feel there are things we can put into place to make our sport better.”
Zainal, who was Asum deputy president from 2000 to 2010, believes that he has the support from the state affiliates to challenge Shahidan.
“Even Youth and Sports Minister Khairy Jamaluddin has voiced his concern over the decline of certain sports,” said Zainal.
“We’ve won medals in swimming at the Asian Games but are now struggling to stamp our mark at the SEA Games.
“We even contributed an Olympic medal in London and we have to make sure it is not the last one.”
Asum will also vote in a new secretary on Saturday as the long-serving Edwin Chong has stepped down after being diagnosed with kidney cancer in January.