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PETALING JAYA: Changes in sports organisations must come from within and not from outside forces.

Senior sports leaders pointed out that outside pressure, especially from the public or government, for change will not have an effect on sports bodies unless their members want the change.

Rules of international organisations like Fifa and the International Olympic Council (IOC) may prevent it as they may be seen as undemocratic and affecting the autonomy of an association.

Youth and Sports Minister Datuk Seri Ahmad Shabery Cheek had proposed to limit the term of sports association leaders to eight years.

Responding to this, Kelantan FA president Tan Sri Annuar Musa said the idea of limiting the term of top sports officials may go against IOC rules.

"What should the term limit be ... two, three, four years? Also, who is going to decide on this?" he asked.

"The most important thing is that if an official is performing his duties well, then there is no reason to replace him.

"Members of the sports body have a duty to remove those who are not performing as officials are democratically elected.

"The problem in this country is that non-performing officials still hold on to their offices because of the structure of the organisations."

Annuar said change within a sports body must come from inside -- the members themselves -- otherwise it will not hold.

"Members must be brave enough to bring about changes and remove non-performing yet democratically elected officials," he said.

Olympic Council of Malaysia president Tunku Imran Tuanku Ja'afar said it was up to members whether they wanted to limit the terms of officials.

He said in some organisations there were young and good people who may want to take over and they may agree to limit the term of officials but on the other hand some sports bodies are finding it hard to get the right people.

"Sports association members are free to do what ever they like as long as they follow the due process, the IOC will not interfere.

"If government forces bring change in a sports body, the IOC will not condone it and they will suspend the association just like the did to the Indian Olympic Association."

He said OCM wanted to bring in the age limit of 70 years some years ago but at the annual general meeting of national sports bodies overwhelmingly voted against it.

He said if we limit the term then it would be difficult for a Malaysian sports official to get elected to an international body.

Malaysian Tenpin Bowling Congress president Datuk Dr P.S. Nathan said we are living a democracy and it is up to members to decide what is right for the organisation.

He said outsiders can shout for change in a sports body but it was up to members to decide what they want.

"It is easier to vote out an official who was not performing than to change the provisions of the constitution."

Amateur Swimming Union of Malaysia president Datuk Seri Shahidan Kassim said it must be remembered that sports leadership was voluntary.

He said limiting the term of officials might be a good idea but then we may end up losing capable leaders who are hard to replace.

"The important thing is that those who don't contribute in any way should go.

"If we talk about change don't look at the national leadership alone, it must be carried out at every level," Shahidan said.

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