Saturday, October 9, 2010

Hiding in Broad Daylight: Transparency

Replying to mtheory:

Everyday I wish that what I said is not true. When little or no progress is shown for the past 20 years despite the "millions" that Raymond claims Dato Tan has showered the chess community, it is just too hard for me to swallow.

Replying to abdooss:

It is easy to suspect someone is on the take simply because of the lack of transparency. Granted, even the most prestigious auditing firms can be misled, but all necessary actions should be taken to prevent this. For example, publish the breakdown of the accounts on the MCF website.

Given what you said, I would like to point out that even the MACC's effectiveness is in question.
More importantly, many of the MCF's practices are "ONLY" borderline illegal but probably closer to unethical. Just to give you a few examples of the things that happen in broad daylight (never mind the under the table dealings yet):

1. Olympiad selection

The most obvious one is the Olympiad selection. Granted, super-sub Greg did manage to score a massive 66.7% but I am sure I do not need to say more about the shadiness of this year's Olympiad selection. Maybe Malaysia needs a really capable team captain. Mas and Mok are "obviously not qualified to be captains".

OK, maybe one slip-up is not good enough to bitch about the MCF. Let us examine some of the past Olympiads. In 2004, Malaysia was represented by Tan Vooi Giap (who?) who played a grand total of 1 game. In 2002, Greg was also playing. In 2000, there was Azahari Md Nor. In 1998, not only was Azahari in the team, guess what, Hamid too made it too!! In 1994, Sabar Hashim was in the team. I suppose it is a prevailing trend where the towel boys are included in the team list. I am almost sure someone will be quick to point out that in SOME years, we sent "legitimate" teams. For it to be truly legitimate, we need to lay out exactly is the criteria for the team selection? What must I do if I want to try to qualify? I am not talking about the lone spot offered by winning the National Closed. Even then, Evan Capel was not selected to play.

The fact that they can keep doing this again and again and again means that they are telling you, "You can't do anything about this!"

2. Free trip for officials

OK, this is a partial extension from No. 1. By virtue of selecting free-loaders, they get a free trip to whichever country. Now, what about the other international tournaments, especially the age-group tournaments? Often times, players are FORCED, I repeat, FORCED to fork out money to pay for the MCF officials to go along for the trip. I wish to emphasize on the word "forced" because the MCF officials will always tell you that you have two options. You can choose to pay the extra money for the officials, or you can choose not to go. How about I give you a choice? You can choose to show us the details of the accounts with your clothes on, or without your clothes on. How is that for transparency? And many times, these officials are plain tourists. Sometimes, the players only see them after they get off the plane and check into the hotel. After that, maybe you catch a glimpse of them once or twice during breakfast. Other than that, the next time you get to see them is when you check out and get on the plane to go home. Does that sound familiar to anyone of you? I suppose that is better than when these officials pretend to care about the games and "try" to coach the players. Oh wait, that happens too.

3. Hotel room allocation

In events like the Malaysian Open, we all know that the GMs and IMs are offered rooms at or near the playing venue. Now, I can't give you the exact number of rooms that were allocated, but let's just say that the number of hotel rooms were intentionally overbooked and the vacant rooms were "reserved" for God knows who. I was informed that these rooms were used as bargaining chips to gain "personal favors" among other personal benefits. I don't know about you, but is this even illegal? Probably not, especially this kind of thing is rampant in any organization. I suppose if that's the case, we can't blame the MCF. I guess I should thank them for not wasting the rooms. At least they put it to good use.

4. Over-billing

I guess this generally comes into the transparency issue. As Rationality pointed out, the exchange rate that the MCF has been using for the past few years has been USD1 = RM3.80. The exchange rate has not been USD1 to RM3.80 since 2005 when our 5th Prime Minister unpegged the RM. Just have a look at the chart. The data was obtained from the US Federal Reserve. Shocking? There are many other cases of over-billing but it is too unfortunate I cannot prove this without the proper accounts being made public. But neither can the MCF prove its innocence. I suppose everyone is innocent until proven guilty. I wonder how it works when someone hides the evidence.

So abdooss... what I have underlined here is really ONLY borderline illegal. Is it really wrongdoing? Hmmm... You tell me.

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