Not many people understand the meaning of transparency. At least that is the case in some sections of Malaysian sports. Transparency brings about openness, communication and accountability.
Without it, there would be corruption, misuse of authority , lies and all the evils which brings disrepute to sport. Is there transparency in Malaysian sports? For those who know the meaning, the answer would be no, but for the non transparent ones, transparency is what you make it to be. Or maybe even a new skin care product!
In my many years in sports I have seen some officials who try their best to be transparent, while others don't seem interested in it, possibly because it might expose their deeds.
Many may be surprised or disgusted to know that the Malaysian contingent were forced to remove a commercial logo from their official attire at the last Olympic Games in Beijing.
The organizers pointed out that logo had breached the marketing rules. One wonders, if the high-flying, big allowance collecting officials were not aware of that ruling. Or, were they trying to do some ambush marketing for their friends?
This shameful episode could have been avoided if agreements with sponsors and other parties are transparent. Incidents like this could have been prevented if people are aware of the nature and contents of such agreements.
Some of these people repeatedly(and loudly) accuse a health drink company in Malaysia of ambush marketing, but it was real shocker when the same officials were silent in Beijing. I wonder why?
Mind you, this happened to our national contingent who are already at an international event. This is a shame and an inquiry must be held - even though it happened 10 months ago - so that those responsible be held accountable.
Due to lack of transparency, other incidents often occur. The media often reports names of contingent members to sporting events, but often there are many others who "happen to be there and happen to have special passes". Why can't this "special" lists also be made public?
An official once told of an incident that happened when he wanted to get into his official car to go to a venue. He had a shocker waiting for him when a woman, who also had a VIP pass (not athlete, official or anything to do with sport) wanted the same car to go shopping. I am sure she was not going shopping for spikes, boots or sport pistols.
There are many other incidents like these and all of them were as a result of hidden agenda and could have been prevented if there was transparency.
In sports we often hear of sponsorship deals where the contents are known by one or two persons only and these people later give misleading statements which results in the public having a false perception about some sponsors.
The sponsors are portrayed as controlling elements or even companies who gave more overseas than locally. If the contents are made transparent, one would realize that these sponsors had given more than what was implied, in fact one would discover that the sponsorship included deals for affiliates as well. One wonders if the affiliates are aware of it.
The time has come for specific and clear transparency laws to be introduced to prevent blatant abuse by some officials.
The issues are serious enough and many are hoping that Prime Minister YAM Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak and his Deputy YAB Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin would step in and make transparency a requirement in sports.
All agreements by sports bodies should be made public and probably the Sports Commissioner's (SC) office should be tasked to implement it.
The SC should not just worry about to punishing association for not signing the annual report. There are many things to worry about in sport.
In the meantime, if the SC's office has the time and interest, should look into the incident where the national contingent had to take of a logo. For me, this kind of action brings disrepute to sports and must be stopped.
There is no point talking about high performance in sports when we have difficulty dealing with low stooping officials.