Deputy Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin on Saturday reminded leaders of sports associations against being obsessed with the prestige of leadership so much so that they neglected development of the sport and athletes.
"Some leaders see their position in sports associations as a stepping stone to benefits for themselves -- going on trips and occupying the front seat as the president. The prestige (that comes with the position) is such.
"But let not the prestige and position make us violate the principles of sportsmanship and, eventually, national sports suffers," he told a news conference after presenting the SAM-100Plus 2009 awards of the Sportswriters Association of Malaysia (SAM), in Petaling Jaya, Saturday.
Muhyiddin also called for an immediate stop to politicking in sports associations, saying it could have a detrimental effect on sports development.
"Politicking in sports associations has been there for ages. When I was the youth and sports minister at one time, I had to deal with leadership problems in many sports associations.
"If the focus is not on leadership but the promotion of sports, then there does not have to be the jostling for posts," he said.
Muhyiddin said the Sports Development Act would be unable to resolve problems associated with sports so long as the association leaders continued to engage in politics.
"What is happening now is that the sports and athletes are becoming the victim, and new sports talents cannot be brought to the fore. The basic question is that sports leaders must have discipline, leadership values, understanding and the spirit of compromise," he said.
Earlier, in his speech, Muhyiddin said sports leaders should reduce politicking in the associations and focus fully on efforts to maximise the potential of athletes to excel in the international arena.
He suggested that sports associations emulate the practice of transition of leaders in a democratic and organised manner without politicking which he said only caused disunity.
At the event, Muhyiddin also presented the SAM-100Plus 2009 award of a trophy and a cheque for RM10,000 to national track cyclist Azizulhasni Awang.
The award was received by Azizulhasni's mother Selamiah Yong as the gold medallist of the Keirin event at the Beijing UCI Track World Cup Classic last year is undergoing training and pursuing studies in Melbourne, Australia.