Having known Deputy Sports Minister Datuk Razali Ibrahim since 2001 when he was the Private Secretary to the then Sports Minister Datuk Hishamuddin Hussein, I least expected him to ride the bandwagon following the good showing by the football team in the ongoing Sea Games in Laos.

The Razali that I had known was a person who truly practiced the 1 Malaysia concept way back from 2001 and for him to come out with statements such as the one below shows that after being deeply drawn into politics, one will tend to forget their responsibilities to the rest.

YB Datuk Razali, you hold an important post, as a Deputy Sports Minister, infact I rate you higher in terms of knowledge in sports since you served in the Ministry from 2001 to 2004, hence you should be quite sensitive to the needs of the Malaysian public.

Can I know why you never made such statements, or pleaded with fans to support the Malaysian hockey team when they were in the final of the World Cup Qualifiers in Invercargil, when only 13 minutes separated Malaysia from a place in the World Cup?

The final was shown live on Astro, so why was there no such support coming from you at that time given that a place in the World Cup was at stake and not a regional final?

Please take time off your busy schedule to give due recognition to other sports as well, esecially those who have achieved world status.

When Malaysia last entered the final in 2001, you were with Datuk Hisham praying that our 12 year wait would have ended on that night at the MBPJ Stadium. And now an additional 8 years later, it is you that will be in the VIP seat, and probably savour the moment of winning gold in Laos.

I will join you and the rest of Malaysia in wishing the players all the best, and to Chef De Mission Datuk Dr. Ramlan Abd Aziz and Head of NSC Elite Athletes Division Arrifin Ghani, this team is the very team you invested in by signing the MOU in 2006. It is you two that laid the foundation for K. Rajagobal to succeed.

Employers were urged to allow their workers to go home earlier to enable them to watch the live telecast of the Malaysia-Vietnam football final at the 25th SEA Games in Vientiane, Laos.

Youth and Sports Deputy Minister Datuk Razali Ibrahim said the match would be carried live by RTM at 6pm on Thursday.

“Perhaps the employers can allow their workers to go home earlier or provide television sets at the offices to enable them to watch the match,” he said in reply to a supplementary question from Senator Fatimah Hamat in the Dewan Negara on Wednesday.

Razali said the national squad would definitely appreciate the support of fellow Malaysians, and such support could spur sports development in the country.

“It cannot be measured monetarily, but I’m sure employers’ support for football development will be deeply appreciated by our national squad,” he said.