Political parties are currently busy talking about unity talks, a move that may be good for our nation. But, there is also a "unity talk" taking place in sports and, if things work out as planned, some interesting developments should take place soon.
The planned unity talk is in cycling and some veteran officials are behind the move which they hope would heal the wounds of 1988. In that year, a group of officials led by Datuk Darshan Singh Gill (now Tan Sri) from Perak took control of the Malaysian National Cycling Federation (MNCF) by ousting the incumbent, Tan Sri Elyas Omar and his team.
That incident caused many things to happen, including the federation itself changing its name twice. The 1988 election also saw a rift between many states and officials and these effected the growth of the sport in many of the states. Plenty of time and effort were spent in the politicking that followed. Even the constitution was amended a couple of time to prevent "outsiders" from coming in.
But now, many feel that it is time to heal the wounds and thus the idea of unity talks. Plans are being drawn to replace some officials and bring back some veteran and, at the same time, bringing in some new faces. There are also plans to bring back former secretary, Shahruddin Jafar (picture above), who held the post in the 1970s and gave up for a while before making a come back again in 1988.
Shahruddin is also the first Malaysian to have won a gold medal in the SEAP Games.
Part of the plans in this "unity attack" is to replace Deputy President, Datuk Naim Mohamed (picture below). Recently Naim was booted out from the Malacca Cycling Association.
Many are not happy with the fact that the President (Haji Abu Samah Abdul Wahab) and Naim are from Malacca, a state which has not produced any rider of caliber. They are willing to let Haji Abu Samah stay on but not Naim. However, this would not be an easy tasks, with Naim having the support of Maniam Manickam from Perlis.
Some affiliates feel that Datuk Ahmad Sidi from Terengganu should take over as the Deputy President. Terengganu is riding high at the moment with their cyclist, Azizul Hasni Awang having performed well at the Olympics and other International tournaments.
Affiliates are also not happy with the way the Tour de Langkawi was
organized. The talk within the cycling circle is that many debts have not been settled and the officers concerned seem to have switched off their hand phones. This has caused many to be upset and have made up the mind to bring about a change.
Besides the Deputy Presidents post, there is expected to be some contest for the four Vice Presidents posts, with some saying that Shahruddin coming in would bring the past and present to work together in unity for the sake of cycling. There are two Vice Presidents now - Maniam Manickam and Raijas Anang.
The previous Sports Commisioner, Tan Sri Elyas Omar ruled that the other two who were elected, Dato' Yusuf Herman Shah and Supt Khalid Kadir, could not hold office due to technical errors in their nominations.
The MNCF Annual General Meeting (AGM) was supposed to be in June 2009, but could not be held because of investigations by the Anti Corruption Agency into their 2007 accounts. The accounts have just been returned to MNCF and once the 2008 accounts are ready the national cycling body will call for its AGM, which would most likely be towards the end of the year.
This is good news for those involved in the unity talks, because they need the time to clean the wounds.