THEY came with high hopes, but went home with more questions than answers when Tengku Abdullah Sultan Ahmad did not make a concrete stand, and neither did he name his first-11 for the Malaysian Hockey Federation (MHF) elections on Nov 1.
Tengku Abdullah listened attentively, and also took notes, when he allowed everyone in the 50-strong quorum made up of state delegates, MHF incumbents, former internationals and former sports writers to state their views in a forum-like atmosphere yesterday.
But in the end, when his turn came to make a stand, Tengku Abdullah said: “I have positions in many sports associations and very little time to spare, so I offer myself as a Royal Patron to the MHF.
“I have not made up my mind on becoming the president, but if all of you feel that there should be changes in the MHF, look for an alternative, and if there is no one, you can look me up again. That is as fair a judgement I can make today.”
There was confusion in the room, as Tengku Abdullah’s statement was open to many interpretations.
In his opening remark, the Tengku Mahkota of Pahang revealed that former MHF president Sultan Azlan Shah was the first to suggest that he helm the MHF.
“The first to suggest to me that I become president was Sultan Azlan Shah when we met recently, but I just kept quiet because I did not think anything about it. But then, he sent a message through someone asking me to consider the po sition.
“I have yet to make up my mind, and even if I do say yes, I will need help from everyone to start the grassroots moving again.
“The present president and deputy president have run the organisation in their own way, and so I am not ‘jual mahal’ (playing hard to get). I am shallow in hockey, unlike soccer, and I do not want to disappoint all if I fail to live up to your expectations,” saif Tengku Abdullah.
All the states were represented at the dialogue, but none came with any constructive ideas on how to help hockey and to bring in more money.
The states were more sore with the parent body for not providing grants, as their coffers were also empty, and no development could be carried out.
And those who were expecting Tengku Abdullah to take out his magic wand and shower them with funds, went home the most disappointed.
Nominations close on Oct 25, and candidates have until Oct 29 to withdraw from the race. But after yesterday’s no stand from Tengku Abdullah, the first to pull out was Kuala Lumpur HA’s nominee for the secretary’s post, Johnson Fernandez.