KUALA LUMPUR: Shock swept through the cycling community following news of Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) raids in Kuching on Monday, as investigations into the Malaysia Games cycling fiasco continue.
Most initially thought that the shoddy props and barely existent safety barricades at the biennial Games’ cycling events were due to a lack of funds, and so, the news of the raids caught them by surprise.
Tunku Mahkota Ismail Sports School cycling coordinator Othman Rashid was among those who thought that the events were poorly organised due to a lack of funds.
“As with previous editions of the Malaysia Games, we expected something similar in terms of organisation, especially safety,” said Othman, who was in Kuching as an observer.
“The heavy criticism that the organisers received from the cycling community, especially on social media, was expected, but like many, I assumed that they did not have sufficient funds.
“The poor safety, especially at the road events, where barricades were almost non-existent, surprised us all. I hope we will not be surprised further by MACC’s findings.”
The commission, on Monday, seized documents related to the organisation of the cycling events from two cycling officials’ homes, one of which doubled as the office of the sports body involved.
This followed an uproar in the cycling community over the poorly
organised events, despite Sarawak government officials claiming
that substantial funds had been allocated.
It was alleged that RM1 million had been allocated for the construction of a BMX track, and at least RM900,000 spent on road, track and mountain bike events.
Former national cyclist Nor Effandy Rosli, who accompanied his daughter and Federal Territories cyclist Nur Deena Safia at the Games, said he did not expect the issue to turn into a large-scale controversy.
“Initially, I assumed that they didn’t have the funds, thus, the events were run on a very small scale. Safety barricades were few, and I feared for the cyclists, especially those in the road races.
“We can say the races went on without incident. But, (the quality) was poor, not what you expect of the Malaysia Games.”
Another former national cyclist, Fairoz Izni Abdul Ghani, who made the trip to Kuching to watch the cycling events, said something should be done to ensure standards were maintained in future Games.
“I’m shocked by what transpired. But, without making assumptions as to what actually happened, we should look into ensuring that, at the very least, such poor organisation is avoided in future editions.
“Minimum standards should be set and met by the organisers. This is to ensure that the safety of competitors is not jeopardised.
“Even in smaller local races, like the National GP Series and Junior Cycling Malaysia, there is a high level of safety. But, it was not so at the Malaysia Games, which is the biggest local event for cyclists under 21.”
In Kuching, state MACC director Datuk Badrul Shah Norman said investigations into allegations relating to the construction of the BMX track were ongoing.
“Yes, investigations are active. At the moment, however, no arrest has been made,” he told the New Straits Times via text message yesterday.
He confirmed that MACC officers had seized documents from the houses of the two cycling officials, who were believed to be directly involved in the construction of the facility, but declined to say if anyone would be summoned to facilitate investigations.
The Malaysia Games had come under scrutiny due to the BMX track, which was deemed by many quarters, including Malaysian National Cycling Federation officials, to not be up to standard.
Photos of a start-and-finish gantry erected haphazardly with scaffolding poles have spread online.