TENGKU Tan Sri Mahaleel Tengku Ariff has been president of the Badminton Association of Malaysia (BAM) for five months.
So, how has he stacked up, so far?
A bit of a hit-and-miss, actually.
Changes have been made, no doubt about that.
But the question that begs to be answered is were they done for the sake of changing and were they effective?
Let’s look back.
It took one month of groundwork before Tengku Mahaleel unveiled his grand scheme – a new structure, new key personnel and an ambitious five-year plan.
It looked good on paper, I would say.
But it was in the implementation that things began to unravel.
- The appointment of Tan Aik Mong as the Talent Management Group (TMG) director raised quizzical looks, but Tengku Mahaleel insisted that the former was the best man for the job.
- We know what happened after that, don’t we? After 18 days, Aik Mong left and Tengku Mahaleel had to undo many of the decisions he had approved under his good friend’s short reign.
- But before Aik Mong left, Rashid Sidek quit, only to return after the former left.
- There were also drastic changes made to the Bukit Jalil Sports School (BJSS) coaching set-up just two weeks before the World Junior Championships. The result? Malaysia recorded their worst results in Bangkok, with none of the juniors winning a single medal.
- The executive council was also scrapped, and then reinstated.
- Several partnerships were split up and then reinstated.
- The roles of several coaches were redefined and then reversed.
- Assessors were appointed but their roles were not clearly defined.
In short, a lot of time and effort had been wasted.
To be fair, he did get a few things right.
- He was right and bold in promoting the 13-year-old Goh Jin Wei and Cheah June Wei to the national team so as to give them an early taste of the action at the highest level.
- The open selection is also a good idea. The only problem is ensuring that it is done in a fair and diligent manner.
Frankly, what BAM need right now is a full-time coaching director to pull everyone together at the national centre and a full-time development director to manage the programme at the lower level.
And both of them must work in tandem.
Currently, Tengku Mahaleel is the president, acting TMG director and chairman of the coaching and training committee. Isn’t that a bit too much for one person to handle?
Fortunately, Penang BA president Dr Koay Ban Ching has stepped in to take some of the load – but then, he too, is serving on a part-time basis.
All Tengku Mahaleel needs to do is look around. Malaysia is teeming with people with the talent and ability to run the show.
In fact, several former young and vibrant internationals have openly declared their willingness to step in as the national coaching director or as managers. They are willing to take the bull by the horns – so to speak.
I am not trying to tell BAM, or even Tengku Mahaleel for that matter, how to do their jobs.
All I am saying is that it is high time these former internationals are roped in to steer BAM back on course.
Like the late American industrialist and founder of the Ford Motor Company, Henry Ford, once said: “Coming together is a beginning, keeping together is progress, working together is success.”
The writer is aware that she may get into the bad books of BAM due to this frank assessment at the beginning of a brand new year. But then again, if that is the “reward” for being open – so be it. She has been taught that honesty is the best policy.