THE National Sports Council (NSC) will be headed by new director general Ahmad Shapawi Ismail effective today.
Shapawi, 51, will become the first administrator to have headed all three main sporting arms under the sports ministry, having also served as National Sports Institute (NSI) chief excutive officer, before being appointed Sports Commissioner, the post which he held until yesterday.
Sports Minister Khairy Jamaluddin, in making the announcement yesterday, also confirmed that outgoing NSC director general Datuk Seri Zolkples Embong has been appointed as chief executive officer of the 2017 Sea Games organising committee.
Khairy said Shapawi’s vision and future plans for programmes under the NSC was what made him the obvious choice, following the final round of interviews for eight candidates shortlisted from 40 applications by Sports Ministry secretary general Datuk Jamil Salleh and himself on Monday and Tuesday.
“The appointment this time was done via open recruitment, not just limited to existing NSC or ministry officers, but we wanted to find the best candidate. So we selected the most suitable candidate for the post,” said Khairy.
“Shapawi was appointed based on his vision, his expertise and experience in sports administration.
“He has been chief executive of the NSI, he’s been the Sports Commissioner, so he will now be the first to have done the ‘Grand Slam’ of three major sports agencies in the country.”
Khairy elaborated that Shapawi's vision also showed that he understood the need for coordination in development of sports, particularly between the sports ministry and the education ministry.
“He has a clear vision, particularly in the need for coordination at development level. There needs to be more defined coordination between the NSC, the education ministry and national sports associations (NSAs). He has a clear focus on the agenda for development,” said Khairy.
“This is in line with my approach and with what the government has stressed in the budget for 2015 announced earlier.
“During the interview, Shapawi stressed on the relevance and needs of the structure, also he showed that he understood the weaknesses that needed to be rectified, I believe we have made the right choice.
“Also, what satisfied me was although his vision for development was very clear, he did not neglect the short term plans, including the preparations for the 2015 Sea Games in Singapore, which is just six months away. He also stressed the need for more coordination between the NSC and NSI in his plans for the Olympics.
“Shapawi showed the need for relevant approaches to development and targets that can be achieved. He did not promote himself as a ‘superman’ who could solve all our problems, but he showed us what targets could be met.”
Khairy added that one of the major challenges for Shapawi in his new post will be to redefine the relationship between the government and NSAs.
“In our meetings with the Olympic Council of Malaysia (OCM), among things discussed was the NSAs’ need for autonomy.
“They want more autonomy and more funding. But the key takeaway from that meeting is that there has to be a clear structure before this happens and with this autonomy should also come responsibility.”
Khairy added that preparations are also underway for the 29th Sea Games in Kuala Lumpur in 2017, with the joint technical committee having held its first meeting on Tuesday and 36 sports have been proposed to be held in the biennial Games which was last hosted by Malaysia in 2001.
By ARNAZ M. KHAIRUL