The REAL story of February 25 - the Public Hearing by the Sports Commissioner's Office of Malaysia.
Is this what paintball has become?
By: Amber Wong
On 25 February 2010, I went to a public hearing session held by the Sports Commissioner’s office to determine the association that will represent paintball on a national level. Two associations had been legally and properly registered for consideration – the more or less defunct Malaysian Paintball Association (MPA), and the new Malaysian Paintball Federation.
What I saw, was a kangaroo court.
At the end of the day, the Sports Commissioner’s office was so fed up, they more or less washed their hands of the matter, which technically and legally, should NOT have happened.
It baffles me to look back at the entire proceedings, and I have to salute the people who managed to take the session on a tangent so off track that it’s frankly, amazing. The cunning viciousness with which it was pulled off was quite impressive.STEP 1: INTIMIDATE THE OPPOSITION
Certain parties were rudely heckling and jeering at the MPBF members. As I stood to give my speech, Sofian Daud, or Pian, and a few other people with him were making rude noises at me, and this continued as I spoke. This was repeated with other Federation supporters, and probably intimidated a lot of people, for towards the end, I saw less and less Federation supporters move to speak. This was probably the intention, to confuse and intimidate. Sad to say, it worked.
Have we degraded to mob status? Where we have so little respect for each other that we won’t even others speak their mind? We were supposed to represent the paintball community to the Sports Commissioner’s office.
These people made paintballers look like a bunch of uneducated savages. Worse, these people are supposed to be veterans in the sport – role models for the future of paintball.
Frankly, it makes me ashamed to call myself a paintballer, if this is what we’re supposed to look up to.STEP 2: OVERTHROW THE HIERARCHY
There is an established hierarchy for associations – first the nation, then the states, the districts, and finally the clubs. Yet I saw the pyramid come tumbling down amidst the chaos. If you examine the hierarchy, it’s the states that should have the most say, because districts and clubs should legally and properly come UNDER them.
As far as state votes went, it was a landslide victory for MPBF – 5 in favour, 1 neutral, 1 against. But oddly, at the end of the day, there was no definitive win declared. A quick examination of the current interim committee will show you that the key positions are mostly held by clubs, with nearly all the states in lesser positions in the committee. How is it that the sports commissioner’s office allowed this to happen when their own constitution clearly states that only the states can vote for the national body?
The opposing parties stated that they wanted the national body to represent all paintballers, which is correct and right. But tell me, is what’s been done really reflective of “representing all paintballers”? There are supposedly 31 seats in the committee to represent the states, the districts, and the clubs that were present. What about the vendors? What about the fields? What about the clubs that weren’t present? What about the other players and teams that haven’t formed their clubs?
Some of these clubs don’t even have their accounts and AGM in order. How is it that the state associations could be overruled so easily?
The rowdy factions aggressively pushed for an immediate decision there and then on the day itself, pressuring the Sport’s Commissioner’s office. MPBF handed out a flyer with their proposal as well as a list of proposed interim committee members to everyone who came to the hearing. The final Federation committee would include the heads of the 14 state associations, effectively representing all paintballers from the grassroots up, and 3 seats for reps for the vendors, promoters, and field operators, to account for the business sector.
Look at the pro tem list that was decided upon during the hearing. Compare it to the MPBF’s proposed pro tem list (available at http://persatuanpaintballmalaysia.blogspot.com
). The original list includes people who contributed significantly to the growth of paintball. They’re not in the new list, which by the way, doesn’t even add up to 31. I see 22 names. Where did the rest go? And more importantly, do these 22 people, made up of whoever happened to be there, truly represent the thousands of paintballers out there?STEP 3: BACK A PHANTOM HORSE
As far as I was concerned, it was a hearing to examine the MPA and MPBF, and whether they were fit to represent paintball on a national level. Yet these same noisy people were loudly and aggressively pushing for a third, brand new association.
Fair enough, I think. If you think someone else can do a better job, let him step forth. But put your
money where your mouth is. Go and apply for a new association. The MPA and MPBF applications were submitted ages ago. There was plenty of time to. Where did this new horse come from?
Some of these people did not even bother read through what the MPBF was proposing. That was obvious enough when some of the people complained about things that were already addressed in the paper they were holding in their hand.
So the new question is, were these people really dissatisfied with the MPBF? Or were they opposing the MPBF for the sake of opposing the MPBF? Because as far as I could see, the MPBF’s proposal covered concerns that have so far been holding the paintball industry back – lack of legalization, grassroot programs, safety and code of conduct programs, recognition of paintball as a mainstream sport, unnecessary red tape, and high import taxes. (The full proposal can also be viewed at the blog: http://persatuanpaintballmalaysia.blogspot.com
The proposal even included a non-profit, non-business clause that would render the Federation much less open to abuse and corruption.STEP 4: IF HIS HORSE IS NICE, TAKE IT.
At the end of the day, the Sports Commissioner’s office acknowledged that the MPBF won, and this is the name that the new pro tem committee is currently going under. But I saw a recent post on Facebook that deliberately slams the Federation, and acts as if the Federation lost. A post released in conjunction with this piece of vicious slander lists the interim committee of the “Newly form Malaysian National PB Organization”, effectively refusing acknowledgement of the MPBF.STEP 5: DON’T FORGET TO SLANDER
The same vicious post above sent out a lot of half-truths, and loudly proclaimed it as evidence of a conspiracy. One of the points mentioned was that the MPBF failed to produce a draft of the constitution for all to see, and the Federation is therefore, not transparent.
But how can the MPBF produce a constitution when it doesn’t even have its committee members in place? Any Tom, Dick and Harry can write a constitution, but drafting a proper constitution that is fair, just, and loophole-free is a whole new affair that can’t be done overnight. The Philippines learned that the hard way when ex-president Marcos exploited a loophole in their decades-old constitution and ran a prosperous developing country into ruin and poverty.
Another whispered rumor is that the man behind the MPBF is only out to make money. Well, everyone’s out to make money. Name me one person who doesn’t need money to survive, and I’ll show you a caveman. So this man is installing a non-profit, non-business clause in the proposed constitution of the Federation for kicks. So he can make money out of the Federation. Wow, that’s like tying my feet and hands up so I can go change a lightbulb.
From what I understand, the concept of building a non-profit, non-business Federation is like building a communal kitchen. Everyone can use it. The person who bothers to go out and buy his flour and butter will bake the most cakes. If you haven’t bothered to do so, you’ve only got yourself to blame if you’re stuck buying the other guy’s cakes.
Coming back to the paintball, this simply means that the Federation is much less likely to tempt abuse. No business ability means no substantial profit, and keeps the Federation where it should be – growing paintball for the love of the sport, not because it pays for my Ferarri.WHAT HAPPENS NEXT?
That’s up to you. I would seriously urge paintballers to consider all angles of a situation, and make a conclusion based on reason, not on who shouts the most or the loudest. There will be plenty of paintballers out there who will sit on the fence, and be content to ride on the winning horse. There will be others who will look at the situation, and realize that the future of the sport is at stake. I’ve watched many sports run aground and die a slow, painful death. I don’t want this to happen to paintball.
If the national body isn’t solid, the potential for abuse is massive. Funds can be misappropriated. The commercial sector of the sport can be monopolized. Or at best, the body does nothing at all for the sport, and we’re stuck at square one with illegal markers and high prices, and we’ll never see paintball become a mainstream sport.WHAT CAN I DO?
Register your team or district as a club with the Sports Commission office, so that you have a legal voice and vote. Your state association should be able to assist you. If you’re in Selangor, contact Keegan at 012-2888489, or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org
By: Amber Wong