DATUK Seri Shahidan Kassim and his former deputy, Karim Ibrahim, secured eight nominations between them for the Malaysian Athletics Federation’s (MAF) top post when the nominees were unveiled yesterday.
Former MAF president Shahidan and Karim, who were both voted out as president and deputy president at the last elections in September 2012, will face MAF deputy president Datuk Wan Hisham Wan Salleh in a three-way contest on Nov 1.
With incumbent president Datuk Zainal Abidin Ahmad choosing not to defend his post, it paves the way for the 14 affiliates of MAF to decide whether to continue with the present set-up or
return to the conflict-ridden way of the past with Shahidan or Karim.
Karim is eligible to stand after becoming Perak Athletics Association president, having had his six-year ban imposed by MAF overturned in court.
A damning report by an independent inquiry in 2012 found Karim responsible for hiring a Bulgarian doctor who prescribed unknown substances which led to relay runner Yunus Lasaleh’s failed drugs test at the 2011 Sea Games; that Karim told six national athletes to skip dope tests the same year and for Karim’s failure to account for over RM60,000 for a 2009 training stint in Germany.
Yunus and the six national athletes were all subsequently banned for up to two years while national coach Harun Rasheed was suspended for 10 years.
Minister in the Prime Minister's Department, Shahidan secured two nominations from his home state of Perlis and Selangor while Karim was nominated by Sabah, Kelantan, Pahang, Perak, Johor and Malacca.
Only Terengganu nominated Wan Hisham.
Karim also secured two nominations for the deputy president’s post where he will face off against Wan Hisham, Pahang’s Datuk R. Annamalai, Johor's Datuk Noorul Ariffin Abdul Majeed and Selangor’s S. M. Muthu.
Ten candidates will also vie for the four vice-president posts.
Shahidan’s nomination came despite a 2007 cabinet directive which bars ministers from holding positions in national sport associations.
“This is a democratic process and anybody can stand (for president),” said Zainal after opening the nomination papers at the National Stadium in Bukit Jalil yesterday.
“What I will say is that the position of president requires someone who can work full-time and he must be free of any encumbrance.”
MAF’s constitution allows for anyone to contest for the president’s post but only affiliate members can stand for the other positions.
A total of 42 delegates from 14 affiliates will choose the office bearers for the next two-year term.
By DEVINDER SINGH - NST