Am I missing something or is something quite not right with Malaysian chess?
I may be out of the chess picture for a while now but developments such as this still do catch my attention. This "something" referred to above had been brewing for quite some time now and about three months ago at the Malaysian Chess Federation annual general meeting, it was thought that the elections of a new set of office bearers would see the shortcomings addressed and then a new course of progress for chess charted in this country.
Unfortunately, not. The elections -- by itself already stormy when there was a dead heat in the first round of voting to choose the MCF president and which resulted in a second round of voting that saw the incumbent pulling through -- have proven not a watershed. It was just a reprieve brought by several of the old team members to get themselves re-elected or re-appointed.
Three months into the MCF elections, I have been hearing whispers that the MCF has fallen back into its old unchangeable ways. And the old ways were not good. Always, everything boils down to money. Or should I say more bluntly, the alleged misuse of federation funds.
I mentioned whispers. Yes, two days ago on facebook I was puzzled and curious by a brief one-liner that said that seven state chess associations had requisitioned the MCF for an extraordinary general meeting. Then yesterday morning, I received a scanned image of the EGM request letter itself:
Startling. Never before have I known of any circumstances that warranted public calls for an incumbent MCF president and deputy president to step down or be removed. No less, a vote of no confidence in the duo. No MCF state affiliate had ever requested for such an EGM no matter how inefficient the national federation had performed. And I can tell you, there have been instances when some of the affiliates had been downright unhappy with the MCF.
So for this to happen, well, what can I say? What can I conclude? The unhappiness and the rift must now been running very deep within the MCF and has come to a head. This is a chasm that can no longer be plastered over. No turning back? I don't think there will be one.
The allegations against the pair are wide-ranging and I quote from the EGM requisition with my comments offered in brackets:
a) The president and his deputy have failed to carry out their duties to ensure the smooth running of the federation and this has affected the entire chess community in Malaysia. (But in my opinion, this allegation is rather vague as there is nothing specific given as an example of "having failed to carry out their duties.")
b) The president has appointed undesirable persons into the main committee before the elected main committee members were given opportunity to deliberate on the appointment.
c) The president and his deputy have so far failed to provide proper financial account and the same old method of accepting monies from players and bank into personal account still prevailed today. This is evidenced in the 2013 Asean Age Group in Thailand. The appointed treasurer has no knowledge to the monies collected and their whereabout. (In my opinion, this is a rather serious allegation. By right, all monies for events arranged through a registered organisation should go through that organisation's bank account, and I'm not talking about chess alone. So what term would best describe this mode of operation? Conversion?)
d) The president has failed to maintain a good financial standing with FIDE and arrears in June 2013 has led to all Malaysian players to be delisted in the FIDE rating list on 1-7-13. (Not the first time it has happened to us but it should not have happened again. Why can't our officials ever learn not to take such things lightly?)
e) More importantly, the president and his deputy have failed to respect the wishes of the majority state delegates and advice given to them by senior committee members to rectify the situation has been ignored completely.
And what would happen should this motion of no confidence be passed? For one, there will have to be an election for a new president and deputy president by the delegates in the EGM. And with the new persons on board, the delegates are asking for all appointments by the past president to be rescinded.
From what I understand, the extraordinary general meeting will have to be carried out within a month of receiving the requisition from the state affiliates and delegates. That means the EGM must be held by 23 August 2013 latest. From what I also understand, the honorary secretary of the Malaysian Chess Federation will have to give 21 days notice to the affiliate members. That means, the notice of EGM must be date-stamped by 2 August 2013 latest. All this, I hear, are stipulated in the MCF constitution.
And what if the president and his deputy choose to ignore the call for the extraordinary general meeting? I would then say that there is recourse through the Commissioner of Sports. The COS will have to come in to mediate. That is the ultimate. But before then, I would hope that with so many state affiliates and delegates already ganging up again the duo, they should do the honorable thing and stand down.
After all, in registered bodies such as clubs, societies, associations and even this federation, all elected positions are filled voluntarily. The elected officials should know that they are there because they are voted in to work for the common good of all members sharing in the same cause. And finally, I'd like to mention that an elected position is not a kingdom unto itself. And neither should it be the means to all ends. But you'll have to digest those statements yourself.