Badminton Association of Malaysia

IT is left to a foreigner named Morten Frost to decide the fate of Malaysian badminton. With that comes the big question of where is the sport heading to under its president Tengku Tan Sri Mahaleel Tengku Ariff.

Frost, who was reportedly paid arlound RM30,000 during his previous stint (1997-2000), has been named as the technical director and will be given the task to choose his coaches. But this will only happen when Frost takes up his new role, which comes with a lucrative pay packet – something the foreigners, especially westerners who always get the best under all circumstances, in March.

Until then, the Malaysian coaches – Rashid Sidek, Tey Seu Bok, Rosman Razak, Pang Cheh Chang and Jeremy Gan – are in a lurch although they have been given a three-month extension of the contract which expired on Dec 31 last year. But there is no guarantee they will be assured of a job when Frost arrives.

Morten Frost or Morten Frost Hansen, aka "Mr Badminton" (born April 4, 1958) is a former badminton player and later coach, who represented Denmark. Photo by Arkivfoto.
Morten Frost or Morten Frost Hansen, aka “Mr Badminton” (born April 4, 1958) is a former badminton player and later coach, who represented Denmark. Photo by Arkivfoto.

The “free hand” policy accorded to the Dane leaves a big question mark. What if Morten says none of the Malaysian coaches are on par or not good enough to take Malaysian badminton to a world class level. What is there to stop Frost from bringing his own band of coaches to take over.

He reports for duty in March while the SEA Games in Singapore will be held in June and not forgetting the numerous are other tournaments that will be held by the Badminton World Federation (BWF) which will serve to qualify for the 2016 Rio de Janeiro.

But it is for everyone to see how BAM handles things as more and more players and former players, coaches and former coaches, have come out openly to criticize the national body.

The current batch of BAM coaches have been left high and dry. They knew nothing about their future until they were informed via email of a three-month extension and their roles. What is most alarming that Rashid Sidek was removed as chief coach and had to take a pay cut. Is this fair when the existing contract has been extended by three months through no fault of the coaches.

More often than not Rashid has become the “punching bag” for BAM.

Rashid and company have done the best and are capable of achieving the desired results. However, their hands are tied.

Respect has to be earned. The BAM big guns need to show respect to the coaches and players to earn respect. These big guns have to stop pointing fingers and make an innocent party the scapegoat just because the power lies in their hands.

BAM should also stop picking on players because they have taken the brave stand to voice out the shortcomings in the association.

Also why harp on spending RM50,000 to send a player to compete in 8-12 tournaments a season? If the player is not sent to compete in tournaments (it is just like parents spending money to send their son of daughter to a university for their future), where is Malaysian badminton headed to? The answer is simple: “DOOMED”.

When Malaysia’s junior chief coach Zhou Kejian from China – one of the longest serving foreign coaches in Malaysia – quit recently it spells a clear message that something is really wrong and needs urgent attention.

BAM have to look forward and become one big family to look after the welfare of the coaches and players and other staff. Don’t forget that they are making big sacrifices for the country. They too have families to care.

For starters the working environment in BAM must change, quickly, for the sake of Malaysian badminton.

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