Standing in the Eyes of the World

Fifteen years ago at this hour, Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II officiated the conclusion of the Kuala Lumpur XVI Commonwealth Games which was held at the National Stadium, Bukit Jalil. It was the most prolific international sports meet this nation ever hosted.

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It was a national project since it was first incepted, after winning the bid. Most of the monitoring for the preparatory and development works was done by then Minister of Youth and Sports Tan Sri Muhyiddin Mohd. Yassin.

The National Sports Complex was built. Then Prime Minister Dato’ Seri Dr Mahathir Mohamad took personal interest and very close attention in the progress of preparations.

The Kuala Lumpur XVI Commonwealth Games saw the nation upheld the ‘Malaysia Boleh!’ cry and stood together. The pride of the nation prevailed. It was by far Malaysia’s best record in any sports meet where 10 gold medals were obtained and fourth in overall place.

Published in: on September 21, 2013 at 21:00  Comments (1)  

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  1. This is all the reminder of the ‘Best Games Ever’

    Wednesday September 11, 2013 (The Star)

    A tattered and sad reminder

    AT the busy roundabout along Jalan Gasing in Petaling Jaya stands the forlorn-looking memento to the Best Commonwealth Games of the 20th century which our country hosted in 1998.

    The (Sukan Komanwel) Sukom 98 logo which has the national flower, the hibiscus, is broken in half and the national colours of red, blue, white and yellow have all but faded.

    Even the half-buried grey kris sheath resembles a precariously tilting pillar of an LRT track.

    It has been 15 years since the games were staged, the Selangor government has since changed, thousands of people pass by it every day, yet no action has been taken by the authorities to either remove this sorry sight or to spruce it up to reflect the true glory of these great games that were held for the very first time in Asia.

    It was also the biggest sporting event Malaysia had ever hosted.

    Many people, especially the young, don’t even know what this strange contraption is about or, for that matter, what the acronym Sukom stands for.

    Commonwealth Games Federation chairman, Michael Fennell said at the closing ceremony of the games that “Malaysia promised us the best games ever and they delivered that promise.”

    I feel sad that after the unstinting support of the Government, the overwhelming backing of the public and the herculean effort put in by the organisers that the tremendous success on the world stage has been allowed to slide

    into oblivion so soon after the games.

    With the help of the Tourism and Culture Ministry, we could have milked the success of the games for years on, by promoting Kuala Lumpur as the city that hosted these great games by strategically locating well-designed information boots and arches where tourists could learn of our success.

    The Bukit Jalil sports complex could have had a permanent arch which read, “Welcome to the venue of the Best Commonwealth Games of the 20th century.”

    Life-sized photos of the record- breaking events and athletes involved could have been displayed at the various venues.

    But no such plan could be put in place because over-enthusiastic politicians were keen to take over the accounts and wind up Sukom 98 Bhd, the company that was tasked with organising the games.

    The core staff of the company was dismissed and with it went any plans to keep the legacy of the games alive.

    To add insult to injury, Sukom was taken to task by some in the media for not closing its accounts many years after the games, when in fact the accounts were closed and handed over to the Youth and Sports Ministry soon after the games were over.

    The games will always have a special place in my heart because as the Games Village (Residential Zone) manager, I had a special mention by Fennell who presented me with a signed certificate which read

    “…Congratulations on providing an excellent village for the athletes.

    “The XVI Commonwealth Games was not only ‘The Best Ever’ but the village was also ‘The Best Ever’ by any standard.

    “Col Idris and his staff have done a great service to the athletes of the Commonwealth.”

    LT COL (R) MOHD IDRIS HASSAN

    Kuala Lumpur


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