By now we Malaysians have already known that foreigners are being recruited to rejuvenate our two dying organisations. One dying of talent and the other dying of ideas.
For some years now the former, Badminton Association of Malaysia (BAM) has been depending on one man, Lee Chong Wei, to carry the Malaysian flag at the international level. We lack depth in our line up of players. We have problems of management fighting with coaches until one of these coaches is riled up and sulking that he decides to stay away and with him his skill at playing badminton which won him a place in the world tournament and at the Olympics.
BAM and indirectly Malaysia has been depending on her star player who has been the number one in the world but his recent positive dope test at an international tournament in Denmark has sent away all hope on him as he is looking at a two-year ban from playing badminton, to be meted out by the world badminton body. Malaysia is suddenly left with no representation at the international competition.
For this sports Malaysia in its bid to produce world-class badminton players have sought foreign coaches from Indonesia, China, Korea and even Denmark. Yes, Morten Frost was here as a badminton coach some years ago and now he is being asked again to return to help Malaysia improve skills and instill some disciplines and mental tactics in the players. And I don’t know about you all Malaysian readers, but my impression is if there were a European man (read “white man”), those sports administrators would not be as daring as to meddle with his coaching methods like what they did with Misbun Sidek, our self-banished local badminton coach.
And no one has come out to slam BAM for hiring Morten Frost, a foreigner from Denmark to “turnaround” the state of badminton in Malaysia! Mahathir and Kit Siang, where are you? I did not hear Mahathir, our long-serving ex Prime Minister arrogantly saying, “Malaysians are too stupid to be good badminton coaches” as he pointedly told Malaysians that they are too stupid to be MAS’s CEO.
It is a different situation altogether with MAS (Malaysian Airlines) which is dying since it was blatantly privatised in the eighties by none other than Mahathir, our clever and visionary PM (Prime Minister) then whom I have so much respect except in certain matters like his insistence that the Sedition Act 1948 should be retained.
MAS used to be a very profitable company and its share price was RM12.00 in early nineties but privatisation headed by a man chosen by Mahathir had sent the company roiling to its present state when early this year its share price was a mere 0.25 sen! So do we listen to Mahathir on this fresh effort to help MAS?
Naturally, another area of my deep disagreement with Mahathir is him being against hiring a foreigner to helm MAS to attempt to bring it back from the brink of death. Khazanah, the current GLC (government-linked company) that has taken MAS private has looked high and low for a qualified Malaysian to head MAS to “turnaround” the business. How many local have been appointed as CEOs? And yet after spending billion of ringgit and still unable to lift MAS out of its rot started by Mahathir, continued by Abdullah Badawi and helplessly dawdled through by Najib, the current PM.
I am no lover of Khazanah but what they are doing by hiring a foreigner is in effect the last resort. Mueller is not just any foreigner, he has the track record of turning around weakened airlines. A man who knows the airlines industry well. We have to get someone like him to breathe life into MAS lest we die trying. As a disappointed ex MAS minority shareholder, I implore upon these high and mighty politicians to support this effort and give it a chance to save our National Airlines.
I do not think any Malaysian would want to head MAS at this stage of its worthless life because they know what kind of garbage they will face when trying to turnaround this mammoth. It’s not worth their time which could be best spent somewhere else. They would not only be harassed by politicians looking for business contracts, they would also be harassed by the so called VVVIPs, the royalties, the elite, the political cronies and those who think that they are damn important, looking for travel upgrades and special attention when traveling using MAS at the taxpayers’ expense. All kinds of interferences would be there to derail their efforts to infuse good governance and practices in the organisation.
I bet you all that with a “white man” at the helm, those trouble makers and detractors would not be as bold to ask for favours and interfere in MAS’s affairs.
Someone suggested that Mueller should be made an advisor rather than CEO, obviously that crackpot does not understand the responsibilities and authority of each appointment.
At this juncture, I am also encouraged to make another analogy. Look at Manchester United, the world famous football club, what has become of them in the UK Premier League after their long-serving manager Alex Ferguson left? Same players but a different manager and they cannot seem to perform as well as they used to under Ferguson, losing million of dollars in income as a result.
Forget bloody politics, let’s support and give Christoph R. Mueller, the CEO designate of MAS a chance to revive MAS as we support Morten Frost in helping to restore our badminton to its former glory.
By the way, I am quite aware of the difference between a coach and a CEO but all the same they both need the skills to do a good job. In this instance, they are both highly qualified.
I might not be able to debate till kingdom come on this new MAS CEO’s issue with Mahathir and Kit Siang because I am no politician.
Welcome to Malaysia Morten Frost and Christoph R Muller!