Malaysiakini Opinion

An open letter to Syed Saddiq, youth and sports minister

R Nadeswaran  |  Published:  |  Modified:

COMMENT | Dear Young Man,

I think I am entitled to address you this way (not “bro”, as you have suggested) because when I covered my first cricket match in 1968, you were not born, not conceived and your parents were not even married.

When the Sports Ministry under (the late) Hamzah Abu Samah was launched in 1971, it occupied just one floor of the Jabatan Ukur building on Jalan Semarak. Your predecessor Khairy Jamaluddin’s father was its first secretary-general.

I may have switched to writing on good governance and a bit on politics, but my heart is still with sports. I keep a close watch on sports and am still in contact with people who matter. Wherever and whenever possible, or when the situation demands, I dabble in sports writing.

Young Man, the public knows you are a good debater and these talents will hold you in good stead as far as the youth departments are concerned.

Let me not frighten you, but I say be careful - very careful - when you step into any of the sports-related departments and agencies. You will be entering a vipers’ nest, infested with all kinds of vermin of the humankind.

If you escape them, along the corridors, you’ll come across many “buaya” (crocodiles) who will swallow you whole for breakfast and spit out the bones.

Be warned that the politics within the ministry and its agencies are far more intense and critical than what you have experienced. It is not just a difference of views a’la BN vs Pakatan Harapan.

With so many factions, back-stabbing, poison pen letters and other efforts to undermine one another are part of the culture. These are extensions of political ethos which have been inculcated in the sports administration.

Ask journos to give you a run-down on the mafia that operates within and outside the environs of the ministry. Maybe the “kingmakers” will, for a while, retreat into their cocoons, only to spring out like venomous spiders ready to strike the moment you show any sign of weakness...

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