Siti Hasmah dropped as part of overhaul, says tennis body

siti-hasmah-wtm-1PETALING JAYA: Wheelchair Tennis Malaysia (WTM) today said it decided to drop Dr Siti Hasmah Mohamad Ali, 91, and seek a new patron as part of its “aggressive and extensive” overhaul of plans.

In a statement, WTM said the decision by its new executive council (exco) was made after evaluating past contributions and results.

According to the organisation, the exco felt the change was needed in order to achieve extraordinary results.

“It was a difficult and tough decision as we need a new patron who is required to be actively involved in fund-raising activities and provide key advice in line with the association’s long-term vision.

“The graceful Dr Siti Hasmah has been with the association for 20 years, and we are sincerely grateful for the continuous support and wish her well.

“It is time for the association to move forward and set sights on inspirational sporting achievements, including qualification by merit to the Tokyo 2020 Paralympics,” the statement read.

Yesterday, activist Marina Mahathir, who is Siti Hasmah and former prime minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad’s eldest daughter, revealed on Twitter that her mother was notified recently of her removal as patron of WTM.

One of Siti Hasmah’s aides told FMT that the association’s letter to her was dated Dec 28 last year. The letter had stated that WTM’s committee passed a resolution to drop her during the body’s annual general meeting.

In a Facebook video today, PPBM chairman Mahathir, 92, had sarcastically commented that the decision would help Prime Minister Najib Razak win the 14th general election (GE14).

“In response to current sentiments from Marina’s social media and of various online media reports regarding the decision, we would appreciate the understanding that our association aims to be much more progressive, hence change is inevitable,” WTM said.

It added that the new exco wanted to implement new plans under the programme dubbed “Bag Full of Dreams”, with emphasis on developing Malaysian sporting talent within the wheelchair community to greater heights.

“With a major reshuffling of tasks and positions, the key strategy of the new exco is with long-term focus in mind,” it said.

It said this included nationwide athletic development programmes, sustainable projects for the association’s day-to-day operations, and cooperation with potential partners and stakeholders of authorised tennis bodies.

It also said in light of national wheelchair tennis athletes achieving gold, silver and bronze medals at the 9th Asean Para Games in Kuala Lumpur in September last year, they needed to focus on improving their ranking and growth, to achieve stronger performances in future competitions.

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