By Fadhli Ishak
SPORTS Minister Khairy Jamaluddin has chided the Malaysian Hockey
Confederation (MHC) for the way it sidelined coach K. Dharmaraj from the
Incheon Asian Games on Sept 19 to Oct 4.
Khairy said he had no choice but to accept the move to replace
Dharmaraj with Arul Selvaraj as interim coach and Tai Beng Hai as
manager-cum-assistant coach but he made it clear he was not happy with
the decision being made so close to the Asian Games.
The minister also claimed that information had been withheld from
MHC president Tengku Abdullah Sultan Ahmad Shah by certain people within
the association which in turn had led to the switch in coaches.
“I have to accept this decision although his (Dharmaraj) salary is
paid by my ministry. I have been told they are looking for a foreigner
as a permanent replacement,” said Khairy.
“I spoke to the president yesterday (Monday) and told him that to
find yourself in a situation changing your chief coach 40 days before
the Asian Games is not the ideal state of affairs.
“I told him that I think they (officials) have been concealing things from you and it has resulted in this.
“From what I see, MHC officials have not been reporting the real
situation and as a result he (Tengku Abdullah) has been forced to take
matters into his own hands and make a unsuitable decision considering
the time frame involved.
“The report presented yesterday stated that there were issues
that not only happened at the Glasgow Commonwealth Games but even before
“There have also been reports of players not respecting him (Dharmaraj) and him having the wrong approach.
“If the problems were there before, corrective action should have been taken.
“You know that there was no target set for the Commonwealth Games
but you use it to fire him. Whoever it is (behind this), and I know who
they are, really need to answer for this.”
Khairy acknowledged that Dharmaraj should be made accountable
for the team’s performances but expressed his disappointment with how
MHC has managed its affairs.
“Dharmaraj may have to go based on his performances but this is poor
planning. Poor planning that should not be replicated at other national
“After the Commonwealth Games, there has been a lot of finger
pointing and I have said the ultimate responsibility is with me but I
have to crack the whip.
“I am not on the field, I am not making operational decisions and I do not want to be making operational decisions.
“But I have to now because this is the sort of management and planning that is happening today.”
Under Dharmaraj, the national team ended last of the 12 teams in the World Cup without a single win or draw to show.
The team then hit another low at the Commonwealth Games when they
were beaten 4-2 by Trinidad and Tobago, giving the latter their first
win at the Games since hockey was included in the 1998 edition in Kuala