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Friday, March 1, 2013

Of Another AGM... and the Presidential Election

For the chess community, especially those who reside outside of KL (and Kedah), the name Mohd Zuhri bin Abdullah may seem a bit alien. But come 10th March 2013, he may well be the new President of the Malaysian Chess Federation. With the nominations for the top posts in the Federation were closed yesterday midnight, words have it that Zuhri has accepted his nominations for the Presidency. Rumors have it that it will be a three corner fight between Zuhri, incumbent Tan Sri Ramli and long time KLCA President Dato Seri Edmond Santhara. Certain quarters even speculated that Tan Sri and Dato Seri Edmond are forming a pack and if that happens, it will be a straight fight between Zuhri and Tan Sri/Dato Seri coalition. As the names of the nominees are being kept in secret by the Secretary and the President, the actual names contesting for all the posts are still not yet known.But interesting enough, this would be the first time in MCF history that the post of President being eagerly contested. And the first time that candidates are being nominated way ahead before the actual AGM

For many chess people, the contributions of Tan Sri Ramli and that of Dato Seri Edmond Santhara are probably much publicized. So who is Mohd Zuhri Abdullah? 

The name Mohd Zuhri Abdullah have only surfaced about 4 years ago when he first contributed some funds for the National Junior squad to take part in the World Youth Chess Championship held in Turkey. The flag presentation ceremony by MCF to the National Squad was conducted at IIUM (International Islamic University Malaysia) in Gombak during the University's annual rapid event where Zuhri formally announced his sponsorship for some of the players in the squad. And for me, that was the first time I had the opportunity of meeting Mohd Zuhri - albeit it was just a short "Hi". From then on, MCF committee began to take note of his interest to help develop and grow chess in Malaysia. Soon after in 2011, the opportune moment came when Tan Sri Ramli invited Zuhri to fill up the vacant spot as Deputy President which was left open by incumbent Tuan Haji Ibrahim Abu Bakar. And with the appointment, Zuhri's was entrusted with his first task - to manage and execute the ASIAN AMATEUR OPEN and WOMEN CHESS CHAMPIONSHIP, and what an impact he had made. 

For one thing, he was able to attract the Management of CROWNE MUTIARA HOTEL to sponsor the venue for the event, a 5 star hotel located right in the center of Kuala Lumpur. On top of the venue sponsorship which already worth almost RM200k, Zuhri managed to attract another RM40k for the event through his business connections and influence. What is interesting about Zuhri is that, he is 110% involved in the setting up and the running of the event. On most of the event days, you can probably see him roaming around the playing hall ensuring that the event is properly managed and handled. Despite the fact that the event was his first - what more, it was an international level event, Zuhri managed to complete the task successfully, and brought in financial surplus for the Federation.
Zuhri (center - in light colored jacket) watching over Tan Sri Ramli's "first move" to officiate the opening of the ASIAN AMATEUR and WOMEN CHESS CHAMPIONSHIP 2011. Extreme left is Casto Abundo, ACF Secretary who was also the Chief Arbiter for the event

You can read his short interview during the event with Casto Abundo about his vision for the future of Malaysian Chess in the following link http://www.asianchess.com/news/view/asian-news/interview-of-malaysian-chess-federation-deputy-president-mohd-zuhri-abdullah

Hungry for more, Zuhri decided to focus on the local scene and set up the most lucrative local team chess event in the country - the KASUGI Team event which was held at CitiTel Express Hotel and attracted more than 80 teams from all over the country, including a few international teams. The two day event was one of the more participated events in the country for 2012 calendar and it was indeed a great success for him. From what I understood, he had also pledged to continue sponsoring the event for the next 5 years and we can definitely look forward for the event to grow and become one of the more awaited events in the local chess calendar - rivaling the Merdeka Team Chess Championship

The one thing that is most noticeable about this Presidential candidate is his commitment and willingness to go to the ground i.e. "turun padang", to observe, and help managed and operate the event that he is involved in. This can be easily seen in the business practice that he is involved in - his agriculture and restaurant businesses where he literally dress down to ensure that he understands the situation from the ground up. Comparing to his challengers - Tan Sri Ramli who has Greg and Dato Seri Endmond with Peter, Zuhri prefers to do things on his own, having his own ideas and vision on how things need to be done, and done correctly - definitely a valuable character that is needed in MCF to make sure that each task and venture are executed to the letter.

Will he win? 
Competitions will be tough and the only concern that some people may have is that Zuhri is relatively new to chess compared to Tan Sri/Greg and Dato Seri Edmond/Peter but, just because he is new, it does not mean that he cannot deliver. Perhaps, it is about time that chess has someone new at the helm. With the National General Election pointing towards a change in the government, perhaps the same is needed for MCF. 

But whatever it is, sincerity, vision, transparency and honesty are some of the most important values that MCF and its committee (championed by the President) must have and with that, it may not matter who wins. But the winner, must be able to govern MCF correctly and truthfully, be it Zuhri, Tan Sri, Dato Edmond or whoever else who will be sitting at the helm. The saying goes that it is better to have the devil that we know than the angel that we don't, but then again, there is no harm to give it to the angel..... right? Because sometimes, we know too well what the devil is capable of.....


  1. Tak kira sapa menang dan masuk ajk mcf baru, saya tetap akan buat laporan penyelewengan dana dan salahguna kuasa dalam mcf kepada ROS, COS dan SPRM.

  2. Kudos to Zuhri Abdullah for his rapid acclimatisation in the field of chess organisation. However perhaps it is much too soon to be gunning for the top MCF post given that he is perhaps still new to the arena. How about a lower post for starters?

    As for Peter, he has just put up a list of tournaments (many more than Zuhri's) (http://www.klchess.com/) that he recently organised successfully. Based on merit and experience alone, perhaps Peter's team would win hands down. Although Peter has been in the scene long enough, I don't recall that he has ever taken up any key positions in MCF. And the same can be said for Edmund Santhara. So if this team is really running, perhaps they do warrant a genuine chance at the helm.

    But as you said it, it's really good that there is healthy competition for posts.

    As for Mr.Stonemaster, think there are better places to air your grievances lah.

  3. Many rumors that someone in MCF is feeding Raymond Siew with internal correspondence between the MCF committee. It will be good if at the AGM tomorrow , Zhuri can clarify what is his relationship with Raymond Siew, rather than just denying he will appoint Raymond Siew secretary (anyway i do not see that happening without a lot of resistance)

  4. This Zuhri has many credibility to b a good president of MCF. He had the post of Deputy President before, so, should b no problem if he is given a chance to proof more as president. If others want to make report to SPRM or ROS, be it. And I don't care what politic behind any relationship between so and so...the most important thing, as a player, I can see the success by this Zuhri. That's all...

  5. Zuhri understands that Raymond is one of the "luggage" that he is carrying. Although he has said time and time again that he has got nothing to do with Raymond, what Raymond writes and tells in his blog seems to indicate otherwise. And if Zuhri even think or indicate (let alone appoint) that he is with Raymond, then he should consider his run for the President's post is as good as gone - that is just a political suicide for Zuhri.

    And if Zuhri lost his challenge to the top post, then most of the blame, like it or not, will be pointing towards Raymond.

  6. There has been a lot of good words thrown in favour of Zuhri's bid. In a very short time that he has been in the scene, he seems to have made a good impression of those that have met him. He must surely be one of the firm favourites to win the job. It would be good to bring in fresh faces like him. However having said that, who are the likely contenders for the job? Will it be as per what Najib has said?