KUALA LUMPUR: Shahidan Kassim has joined the fight for the top post in the Malaysia Athletics Federation (MAF), hoping to restore the credibility of the conflict-ridden body.
Perlis Athletics Association secretary Iyaru Muthusamy said his president has confirmed that he will contest the MAF election on June 12.
He said Shahidan, who is the federal territories minister, held firm that the trust of the athletics family had to be restored and words turned into action.
Shahidan will face the incumbent president SM Muthu, who has been under increasing pressure to step down over his non-performance and Malaysia’s rapid decline in track and field.
Two former MAF deputy presidents, Danyal Balagopal Abdullah and Wan Hisham Wan Salleh, are expected to pull out with Shahidan’s entry into the fray. Nominations close on May 28.
MAF’s constitution allows for anyone to contest for the post of president but only affiliate members can stand for the other positions.
A Shahidan-Muthu clash will ramp up a bitterly fought campaign for the presidency of the MAF that is engulfed in a credibility crisis.
It is believed that Shahidan, who was the MAF president from 2008 to 2012 and is the present Malaysian swimming chief, already has the support of eight of the 12 state affiliates.
Selangor and Sabah AAs are not in the equation because of alleged irregularities.
State affiliates have three votes each and a shift of support over perks, trips and money cannot be ruled out, said a source.
The source claimed the current batch of state office seemed unmoved by the severe lack of junior development, athletes’ wellbeing and a questionable coaching system.
Asked whether Shahidan could be considered a recycled leader, the source said: “At this point, a divided MAF requires someone who has been in the top position if the mess created by the present regime is to be cleared.”