COLUMN BY JUGJET SINGH
DATUK OW Soon Kooi likes to stay away from controversies, and is always diplomatic even though the situation warrants otherwise.
And so it came as a surprise when he called for a press conference to clear the air on why he resigned from the Malaysian Hockey Confederation (MHC) vice-president as well as coaching committee chairman posts in a huff.
He had, then, cited health reasons for quitting every post in the MHC.
But yesterday, he said he had to clear the air as allegations in news and other media had tarnished his corporate-man image.
And no less than whose-who in Malaysian hockey attended his press conference at the Olympic Council of Malaysia hotel.
In walked 1975 World Cup members Datuk Poon Fook Loke, R. Pathmarajah and skipper Datuk Sri Shanmuganathan.
And for good measure 'they brought along' 1975 World Cup famous umpire Datuk G. Vijayanathan who blew during the India-Pakistan final.
Former national juniors coach Balbir Singh, international Gurmit Singh, M. Sambu ... and it looked like a re-union of greats as even some women national players came.
But it was not a merry get-together, as they had come to listen to former skipper and two time Olympian as well as two time World Cup player Ow speak his heart.
Ow started by presenting all the work his committee has done over the years, with statistics, to show that his committee was not dormant as alleged by many.
And he also said the reason why they only had one meeting in 2016 was because everything was in place by then, and they ran the show by making decisions on a social media group-chat.
Ow said that his reputation as a corporate man was built on being strict about rules and hierarchy. He doesn't believe in breaking rank, and followed procedure to be where he is today from a poor, a very poor background.
Being a former policeman did not 'help' when he watched others breaking this hierarchy rules.
And that's why when MHC officials made decisions on behalf of his committee and compelled them to follow -- it made him mad.
He gave examples which named four officials of being guilty, with the prime target being Technical Director Terry Walsh.
Ow gave examples where Walsh made coaching decisions without consulting his committee, and it made them wonder who is running the show.
Citing an example, Ow narrated about the hiring of Paul Lissek to become the indoor hockey consultant for Sea Games.
Walsh had approached Ow about the matter and when asked, he was told that Lissek is willing to work for free or at a nominal feel -- as Lissek had coached the Malaysian field hockey team before and was very knowledgeable about indoor hockey as well.
Ow and Walsh agreed on an RM X amount to be paid to Lissek as a consultant. But after three weeks, Ow found out that Lissek was being paid six and a half time higher than the discussed salary.
When he asked an MHC official about it, the official said he had raised the salary all by himself -- without consulting anybody.
There were many other examples of meddling in his committee, but the Lissek episode broke the camels back, and coupled with his nagging neck pain, Ow decided to call it a day.
Attempts to call and SMS MHC president Datuk Seri Subahan Kamal to clear the air on the above issue were not answered.