14 March 2010

Clash of the Titans

The Malaysian Golf Association (“MGA”), being the National Sports Association and the Governing Body for the sport of golf in Malaysia, is indeed extremely concerned with the unsubstantiated statements and views made by third parties with regards to the sanctioning of the US$6 million CIMB Asia Pacific Golf Classic and the registration of the Professional Golfers Association of Malaysia (“PGA”) and wishes to reiterate our stance:

1. The objects clauses of the Constitution & By-Laws (“the Rules”) of MGA clearly and unequivocally tasks MGA to encourage and promote the pursuit of the game of golf in Malaysia, to promote an annual Amateur Championship, the Malaysian Open Golf Championship for professional and other Championships meetings. MGA’s object clauses do not in any way distinguish the sport that is played by amateurs or professionals.

2. MGA’s object clauses further mandate it to ensure that the sport of golf played in Malaysia conforms with the rules of golf as prescribed for the time being by the Royal & Ancient Golf Club of St. Andrews.

3. MGA’s constitution was approved by the Sports Commissioner’s Office and it is clear therefore from the Rules that it is MGA’s inherent constitutional right, to govern, supervise, manage and oversee the development of the sport of golf, notwithstanding the fact that the sport of golf may be played by Boys, Girls, Men, Ladies and Seniors.

4. The same rules of golf apply to all regardless of whether the sport of golf is played by individuals who are amateurs of if amateurs have moved on to achieve professional status. Championship meetings held in Malaysia cater for golfers who are amateurs or for those who have attained professional status. Examples of such Championship meetings include the Iskandar Johor Open, the Negeri Sembilan Masters, Terengganu Masters, Mercedes Benz Malaysian Masters & the Selangor Masters.

5. Over and above all Championship meets hosted and undertaken by our Affiliates (Golf Clubs) are sanctioned by MGA. In promoting these Championship meetings, MGA encourages third parties to promote and or host such events in Malaysia with the view to provide local golfers opportunities to enhance their skills and for local professionals an additional means to earn a livelihood.

6. MGA is a non-profit entity, wherein its members do not profit neither enrich themselves unlike some other sports entities that cater for the specific needs of its members and or their players. The proposed registration of PGA is a step in the right direction, solely and exclusively tasked with managing, developing and sustaining its members’ welfare and livelihood.

7. Herein lay the material difference between MGA’s onerous obligations in the governance of golf in Malaysia and to that of PGA. PGA is no more than a private entity set out to cater for the specific interest of its members only. It cannot therefore be hardly true to suggest that it represents golf in Malaysia.

8. Be that as it may, it cannot be perceived that there shall exist two governing bodies nor two sanctioning entities one that of MGA and the other that of PGA. The word “Sanction” has been so misplaced and misinterpreted by various parties in the past and MGA reckons that this “uncertainty” needs to be put to rest once and for all.

9. Datuk Thomas Lee should have known best as a former president of MGA, who during his tenure of presidency, had championed and advocated that the right of sanction shall remain within the exclusive domain and jurisdiction of MGA. To blow hot and cold at this late stage when the defunct MPGA is in shambles does not augur well for the growth and development of golfers who have turned professional.

10. A recent and apparent example of a potential ‘hiccup” that may be destined to crystallize when third parties undermine existing sanction procedures set out by MGA, can be seen in the recent announcement of the hosting of a Championship meeting in the name and style of “CIMB Asia Pacific Golf Classic” scheduled for to be held at the Mines Resort & Golf Club on October 28th to 31st 2010. It is interesting to note that the Iskandar Johor Open, a regular scheduled and premier Championship meet of which MGA has sanctioned in the past, is also scheduled for the same weekend.

11. The clash of dates has risen for want on the part of the Event Manager/Promoter for not seeking sanction from MGA. This blatant disregard to adhere to fundamental compliance requirements is yet another example when the development and supervision of the sport of golf can be further jeopardized and compromised if unchecked. As third parties have vested commercial interest in hosting/promoting these meets, the conflict of interest issue is real and apparent.

12. If the sport of golf in Malaysia has to develop in an orderly fashion and manner then this “bickering” and unethical practices by parties who have little or no understanding of the issues on hand must cease immediately. MGA has of recent times, charted new initiatives to cater for the many stakeholders and partners involved in the holistic development of the sport of golf. There is sufficient ‘room’ for all, who have a genuine vision, desire and commitment to embrace good governance and to take the sport of golf to the next level. Anything less is not acceptable.

For the Malaysian Golf Association,
Datuk Haji Mohd Yaacob Mohd Kassim
Vice President

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