BUKIT JALIL: Buck up, BAM!
That is the loud and clear message that Youth and Sports Minister Khairy Jamaluddin is sending to the Badminton Association of Malaysia leadership under Tengku Tan Sri Mahaleel Tengku Ariff.
On Thursday, Khairy voiced his dissatisfaction with the BAM management and players, questioning why a country with a wealth of talents still depended on just one player – world No. 1 men’s singles shuttler Lee Chong Wei.
Khairy believes that the current leadership under Tengku Mahaleel is not addressing the issue head-on.
Concerned over the lack of talents coming through the ranks, Khairy wants to meet up with Tengku Mahaleel and his team next week to discuss the future of badminton.
“Time has been given to the new leadership to make some changes but I do not see the light at the end of the tunnel just yet,” said Khairy.
“I know the new leadership tried to do something different but it is not quite working. I am very worried … very very worried indeed.
“The players’ performances at the SEA Games has dropped. At the Malaysian Open, most of the players crashed out on the opening day. That is disappointing and (that’s why) I am here (at Putra Stadium) … I did not plan to be here today.
“We are still depending on our ageing world No. 1 player Chong Wei, who is also my friend. That is not acceptable anymore,” he said.
Khairy listed several areas that he wants BAM to explain and clarify.
“At the management level, I am concerned that the president is holding on to too many responsibilities. I do not see the delegation of work and I am still unclear on the roles of certain committees,” he said.
Currently, Tengku Mahaleel is also the acting Talent Management Group (TMG) director following former international Tan Aik Mong’s decision to quit the post 18 days after he started in Septemter. Tengku Mahaleel is also the coaching and training committee chairman, a post previously held by the national body’s secretary Ng Chin Chai.
There is no national coaching director to hold the team together at the national level.
“Last year, we did not send many players to compete abroad. They need all the exposure if we want to depend on more than one player.
“On development, I feel that the planning by the states is still insufficient. Players are deprived of tournaments at the states. This is one of the few issues that I want to discuss with the leadership.
“I am not blaming this new leadership for the recent drop in performances; I am just expressing my concern. If we take no corrective action, this situation will continue.
“What we have in place right now is not enough. I have confidence that the current leadership can turn things around,” added Khairy.
The rap on the knuckles comes just two days before the BAM council meeting, scheduled for Saturday.
It will surely be a wake-up call for all the council members.