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Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Of My Working Relationship with MCF

Somehow or rather, my last posting generated negative and unfavorable response from certain quarters and certain readers. Some even misconstrued the entire article and concluded that I have attacked MCF. Some even mentioned the word "bribery" which really boggles me how that came about.

I have had the pleasure of working, and knowing, most if not all the MCF Secretaries. One of them is Victor Vijayarungam albeit when I know him, he is already out of chess. I was told that his work as secretary was exemplary as he was a teacher/principal ergo, his documentation was flawless! FYI, Victor was also the person who designed our MCF logo. My first encounter with Victor was back in 1989 when Laurence How was the MCF Secretary - the next one. For the past one year, Victor has been my "office mate" at DATCC as he would hang around to help me keep the place occupied.

During the mid 80's until early 90's, the MCF Secretary was Laurence How, a Financial Controller and an avid footballer. Laurence was really good in managing big events and being a person with good connections (he is also the person who started the Malaysian chapter of the Manchester United Fan Club and set up the clubhouse in Taman Megah - near his house), he was also able to convince big sponsors to finance events. What more, with Dato Sabaruddin (now Tan Sri) at the helm of MCF, and Dato Tan as the tycoon who loves chess, they made quite a team. And I was part of the team that enjoyed the golden years of chess, running from one international event to the other almost on a regular basis.

When I left KL, Laurence was still the Secretary (I think) and the position was later taken over by Hamid, and then Latiff and then back to Hamid. I did not have any experience working with Latiff as the MCF Secretary but, I did work with him when he was the PCMM Secretary and caretaker/manager to Chess Palace.

When I came back to KL into chess in 2003, I rekindled my friendship with Hamid and he started giving me some events to handle i.e. Chief Arbiter for the National Closed 2004, NAG 2004 (I think), and Bulletin editor for Malaysian Chess Festival. Of course, I continued helping Hamid with the Festival for a few more years (missing only the one in 2006) even after he left the secretary's post. And although Hamid would like to give me more events to handle, I had to decline some like the 2006 Zonal chess as I was not able to get any leave for that long period.

Hamid did ask me if I wanted to be MCF Secretary or Assistant Secretary (sometime in 2005 or 2006 - I think) and I said "No" because, I was busy with work managing Operations for an MNC company. It would be difficult to handle 2 jobs at one time and further, chess does not pay much! I did tell him that I don't mind helping once a while but I am not able to do it on a full time basis. My full time job was high paying and I do not want to risk it for chess because I know I would have to run to see sponsors, meetings, write letters and all that (sometimes at a moments notice), and since its a National Federation, the responsibility would have been too much to bear - alone! And I am also sure, the same offer would have gone to other chess people at that time and I felt that they would have been a better choice. My work was much too important for me and again, for a simple reason that chess does not pay :)

In 2008, when Greg became the Secretary, my relationship with the MCF Secretary continues and after all, I am no stranger to the Federation. So, where is the surprise? Further, I love the game and I can spend the time to help and contribute more because as of 2008, I became a freelance consultant and therefore, I have more time to spare. On top of that, Greg also asked me to help especially in managing and running events, and preparing proposals - he was also a new kid on the block and since I have the experience of running events and writing proposals and budgets, it was a good combination as we compliment one another. Other than Hamid, Latiff and Tse Pin (who are all International Arbiters), I was the only other non-IA arbiter that have a lot of experience running and managing events so, I helped. FM Peter Long was another experienced FA (FIDE Arbiter) but he was also busy managing his Academy and he was more focused towards training programs.

Proposals after proposals went in but nothing bites, and at the same time, since I had the time, I continued helping Hamid with DATCC and run the Malaysian Festival as and when it happened. Mind you, in 2010 when I was at DATCC, I was never employed at DATCC - I was a mere chess lover who goes there to play chess and meet friends. But I was there almost 5 days a week.

When Dato Tan offered me to run DATCC for a year, I agreed and when MCF does not a place to do events, I offered - as was the case with the 2011 National Championship. There was no sponsor so I proposed to do it at DATCC with minimal cost - to pay for rental, arbiter's fee and manage some running expenses i.e. printing, stationary, etc. We targeted a number of players to attend and achieved our objectives. I took what was needed to pay off the things that I need to pay, and the balance went to MCF. Seeing that there is a surplus, MCF decided to return it back as prize money.

So, when ever Greg wants to make a proposal (or when I have a proposal about an event), we will discuss what needs to be done and in most cases, both of us will see Tan Sri Ramli to get his views and ideas - with the Melaka Festival as a good example. I remembered being called to Tan Sri's house at night because Greg and I need to catch Dato Seri Mohd Ali Mohd Rustam the very next day in Putrajaya - during an open house, on second Raya or 3rd Raya (not sure, but it was during Raya). So, the entire day next day, both me and Greg were on alert - trying to catch Dato Seri at the opportune moment. Finally at 6:00pm, we were told to go to Tun Abdullah's open house because he will be there at that time. So, both of us crashed into Pak Lah's house and hijacked Dato Seri at his table, the moment we see him alone enjoying his meal and talked to him about the event. And moments later, Tan Sri Ramli arrived (from Perak) because his Raya event at his hometown (where the PM was the guest of honor) ended earlier than expected. And that was how it started....

On a side note, the REAL HERO for the Melaka event should be Khairi Jansar, the person who literally pounced his way into Dato Seri house and office to make sure that the event will go on. I really salute him for that!!! And for me and Greg, whilst we did prepare the working paper, and gate crash an open house to meet up Dato Seri and persuade him to host the event in Melaka, it would not have happened without Khairi. We talked about the idea and Khairi made sure that it happens - and that he did!!!

So, back to my story.... and referring to my previous article....

So, there your are - how I became involved in MCF and how I develop and maintain my working relationship with each of its Secretary. So, why the fuss and the hint that something was not right? The point to my article was that
  1. There is not much money to be made in organizing chess so stop thinking that it does.
  2. How I earn money from events (whether or not MCF can or cannot pay), that is something that I will work out. There is actually no confusion (like someone had claimed) but it does need a bit of "tightening". But I do believe, when there is profit, it should be shared by everyone. Sometimes, its not the amount, its the recognition and token of appreciation!
  3. There is nothing wrong for me to work with Greg and if you think that there is someone who can do better, then go volunteer to Greg. The more the merrier as we can learn from one another
  4. How Greg gets paid, or whether MCF pays him or not, that is between Greg and MCF. I am sure MCF will give him what is due.... I don't even make much for myself and I am expected to give or share it someone?
  5. But at the same time, I pity Greg if MCF is not able to pay him - one of the reason why I was reluctant to (and still...) be the Secretary of MCF. People will expect me (in this case, its Greg) to work for free. Being the Secretary is a full time job. If there is profit from some events, the least is pay something back to Greg. For that matter, to all the Committee member who have spent time, effort, blood and sweat to manage chess movement in the country
  6. Only once - I think its once, (in the mid 80's) that MCF actually had an executive secretary - a full time paid/salaried secretary that manages MCF daily affairs.
  7. After Laurence How, all the MCF secretaries (Hamid, Latiff and Greg) were/are in chess on a full time basis i.e. Organizer, Coach, Player. Not sure about Latiff but I believe chess is part of his business - maybe not on a full time basis
  8. How MCF can make money (whether it was my suggestion back in 2003 or the other person suggestion in some blog site somewhere) is a different issue altogether. I have said my peace 9 years ago. If someone else is not peaceful with it, not my problem! But I believe my suggestion is still valid - if not all, some of it.
  9. The accounts for the Melaka event is not managed by me nor Greg. The account is set by the Melaka Government and that was what we had proposed and what they wanted as well. So all payments/budgets shall be received, managed and scrutinized by the Foundation
Until my next posting


  1. Yes, someone trying to sabotage Melaka event. At the same time trying to bring down MCF and put in people who backs him instead. Not too long ago he was accusing me of telling MCF what to do. Now he is telling everyone who should be president and secretary. I'm sure he will respond by saying he is entitled to his own opinions (again).

    And shame on Fadli too. He wants to be president in 2015 but no need to start back-stabbing in 2012 , too early ...hehe

  2. Isn't he the one we all dubbed "God's gift's to Malaysian Chess"?

    Anyway, practice makes perfect so, by the time we hit 2015, he would have matured and perfected the art.....

  3. Thank you Najib for trying to explain. I think part of the problem is that we have never had a proper system and no one has bothered to think it through. So lets examine the role of the Secretary. Is he supposed to be giving out projects at his whim and fancy? A few people have suggested that the projects be tendered out and I think that should be the proper way.

    Actually the role of the Secretary is to carry out the policies and guidelines as determined by the full committee of MCF.

    Now why do you think that has never happened in all the years of MCF's existence? MCF's job is to govern. As I said, they can run a few National tournaments themselves like NAG, National Junior and National Close as those are selection tournaments where players pay for the chance of representing the Country and not for prize money. Then there is the money for MCF to pay their officials.

    That is the proper way to run an NGO. We need to conform to the law and understand why there are NGO's and there are private organisers. The current structure just shows confusion. And in all probability and private payments to any official constitues bribery.

    This is not so difficult to understand if you try.

    On the other hand, some people may resist this change because they want to backdoor entries to projects and backdoor entries to representing the Country. They dont want the stress of actually making a good tender or actually playing good chess.

    Doesnt that have some bearings to what this whole Country is now upset about? People who join government not to govern but to put their hands into project funds. And their supporters are people who need the handouts. What do you think?

    Dont you think the way I suggest is transparent and above board? Like when I pushed for selection. Is there a way for me to now put my son in the Malaysian team? But if I was to carry some officials balls, wouldnt I stand a better chance? So why have I chosen this road? Could it be that the other road leads to corruption? And I dont only mean corruption financially. What has all the backdoor entries done to our senior players now that we have selection? Will they be able to stand in the real world of competition?

  4. too, early?kena sabar ke?ok laa sm sabar lagi 3tahun, hehehe

  5. xsilap sm, 2 tahun lepas tahun 2010, sm pun ada propose supaya najib menggantikan greg sebagai secretary mcf. tapi ntah apa jadi. hehehe. ok laa jimmy liew, i postpone back stabing dulu, betul cakap jimmy. lagi 3 tahun. hehehe

  6. jimmy liew dalam perhatian sm untuk masuk dalam jawatan hebat di mcf kalau tiada apa2 halangan tahun 2015 nanti, hehehe

  7. questions, questions, questions. a real expert now http://chessischess.blogspot.com/2011/01/10-techniques-to-become-expert-in.html

    ya, tunggu 2015, tapi jangan buat kacau 3 tahun ni.

  8. "jawatan hebat di mcf" ? ini bribery atau corruption? saya takut sprm (awak ada kawan di dalam) hehehe

    1. dia body saya laa dari sprm, dia minat chess juga,sebab tuu sm bawa dia jadi assistant arbitor masa kejohanan catur.kemungkinan akan buat chess tournament di sprm juga. hehehe

  9. Have written a more comprehensive reply on my blog Najib. Please feel free to reply.


  10. Thanks Fadli .... for taking the comments lightly and for me to laugh.... :)

    For Raymond....
    Another good laugh from me... even louder.

  11. boleh tolong letak site meter di blog ini. nak tgk berapa ramai org joint dan lawat dan baca artikel2 di sini, tq. hehehe

  12. saya lebih suka bekerjasama dengan najib dari greg sebab saya selalu jumpa dengan najib. hehehe but manalah tahu 2015 menjadi kenyataan,sure sm nak rekomen najib jadi secretary mcf yang bergaji tetap sebulan supaya mudahkan beliau jalankan kerja sebagai sec. mcf. hehehe

  13. @Stonemaster

    I seem to recall that you "planned" to be FM by 2008. Tahun ini sudah 2012. I am worried that if you target 2015, by 2019, you still won't be MCF president. To be president in MCF by 2015, you should start at least in 2011. 2012 is already too late. Don't listen to Jimmy.


    Jimmy did not say it is for your self interest. He just said you are telling people what should and should not be done (i.e. who should be secretary). When I suggested a method for national team selection, you said that I am telling MCF what to do. The method of selection that I proposed does not benefit me in any way. Hell, I don't even think I will even participate, much less qualify. Jimmy is merely showing you the hypocrisy of your ways. Not pointing out any self-interest notions that you may or may not have. That, we leave for the public to decide.


    You and Raymond are just talking past each other. No one is accusing you of any wrongdoing. Everyone who has had any encounter with you knows of your noble goals for chess. But what Raymond is saying is that given a "connection" such as yours, it can be easily abused by someone of lesser resistance to temptation.

    That is why a proper and transparent system is needed. Not just MCF-designated organizers. Right now, the MCF Secretary is all-powerful. He can decide whether a person is able to organize a tournament or not. Privately organized tournaments should and must be for profit. In economics, normal profits are reward for the accounting costs PLUS the opportunity costs incurred by the person undertaking the "business".

    So to allow free markets to drive the system, organizers should be allowed to make profits. Otherwise, who is going to undertake any venture? It is a thankless job. Without profits, it will become a thankless, and payless job.

    So an open tender system allows the organizer who is willing to take the "least profit" to "win" the right to organize an event.

    Right now, maybe Greg or you are not cheaters. But in the future, maybe our luck is not so good, we get some Dick and Hairy who actually "want" to take a cut for themselves. There really is no monitoring system for this right now.

    Perhaps you have said your peace in 2003, but this is still a reality. Means no one has done anything about it.

  14. All this talk about MCF and 'perceived corruption- be it money, power or position reminds me about we, earthling and UFO...everybody talks about it but then again no concrete evident emerged, a lot of conspiracy theory and some swear have witness the crash and abduction but then again no one has really captured even one alien, dead or alive..
    But then again maybe UFO and aliens really exist among us...walk like us, talk like us but not really us, with IQ 200 somemore until it is difficult for us,earthling to understand the communication.. And now ever willing to preach us what we should do...


  15. Hi Chess Ninja
    Thanks for those "make sense" comments. Perhaps I also may have misunderstood and thought that "someone" is accusing me of the illegal things that I did not do. But, with me being in the spotlight for organizing international events one after the other - Malaysia Open, Amateur and now Melaka, of course I feel that it is all being pointed at me - directly or implied! Who else is working with Greg for now? Its me again....

    Agreed that these are the "improvements" that we can bring to the table but what irks me is..... like you said, when you say it - you are telling others what to do but when he said it, he knows what is right.

    Some people are just soooo .... immature and childish!

  16. Hi Ilham
    No need to bring you to the leader....
    You have already been brought to see him.... :)

  17. Fadli
    Cukup-cukup la nak sogok Jimmy... Nak sogok saya jugak..... :)

  18. siapa lagi yaaa sm nak sogok kat sini,hmmm, tengah fikir, hehehe