KUALA LUMPUR: Sabah Hockey Association (SHA) secretary Avtar Singh was fuming when asked about the 1Mas Programme which was recently axed by the Malaysian Hockey Confederation (MHC).
Incepted in 2010, and after RM11 million was spent, 1Mas will soon be replaced by another development programme by MHC.
That is because the money for 1Mas has run out, and it overlapped many other development programmes.
There was also confusion as players from Sports Schools, Project Schools, Tenaga Nasional's Thunderbolts programme as well as Universiti Kuala Lumpur's (UniKL) hockey club, were also said to belong to 1Mas.
The critics claimed that it became a merry-go-round circus, with the same players wearing different jerseys coming for training at different venues and days.
"The previous 1Mas programme, helmed by Lim Chiow Chuan (director), did not listen to suggestions or complaints from the states. I was banned from the programme, because I did not want to sign claims which were done without training sessions being conducted.
"They banned a state secretary for speaking out and standing up for the truth. Those were terrible days," remembered Avtar.
However, after a change of guards and Tai Beng Hai becoming director, Avtar was reinstated.
"The previous management did not want to listen to anybody, they ran the show on their own accord. I was reinstated in 1Mas Sabah once Beng Hai took over and paid back my dues from the day I was suspended.
"For Sabah, 1Mas under Beng Hai, has produced many talented players for the state and it did not overlap with the Sabah Sports School’s (which was formed in 2013) hockey programme, and in a way, we are fortunate about it.
"We have active centres in Lahad Datu, Tawau, Kudat, Keningau and Beaufort. They have steadily produced players every year, for our sports school.
"For us, 1Mas had a bad impact in the beginning and turned into gold in the end," said Avatar.
Kuala Lumpur HA secretary V. Rajamanickam, who also felt that the 1Mas was poorly run, wants accountability in a new programme by the MHC to replace 1Mas.
"States have been called up for a meeting Tuesday to discuss a new programme to replace 1Mas. I will suggest an accountability body be set up within the MHC to look into money spent on development programmes as well as to look into the overseas stints of junior and senior teams of both genders.
"This is to make sure every sen is spent wisely, and overseas stints should be matches against the best players of the said countries and not just travel for the sake of travelling and fulfilling a planned fixture," said Rajamanickam.
Sports Journalist with the New Straits Times since 1994.
My main beat is field hockey, so this blog will have stories that I have written for the NST, as well as hockey news from around the globe. There will be regular updates. I was also the Secretary General of the National Press Club, Malaysia for three terms (six years).