Congratulations to Azizulhasni Awang, the Pocket Rocketman, for winning a bronze medal in the Kierin event at the Rio Velodrome recently. It is an achievement to be proud of.
However, he spoiled the celebration by making a statement, thanking the Terengganu Menteri Besar sarcastically for NOT rendering any assistance to him and his teammate in their preparations for the 2016 Olympics in Rio de Janeiro.
It is clear that Azizulhasni Awang, or Jijoe to his fans, felt frustrated for not getting any support from the Terengganu State Government as he was born and bred in the coastal town of Dungun. He alleged that a proposal for a road bike had been sent a year before the Olympics to the Menteri Besar but no response was ever received, and that calls to the Menteri Besar by his manager was never answered.
Several questions here: why send such proposal to Ahmad Razif and not Datuk Rozi Mamat who is the Terengganu Executive Councillor for Youth, Sports and Human Resources? Did Azizul’s manager call the Menteri Besar personally? To whom was the proposal handed over to and was it by mail or by hand?
Azizul is not without controversy. He was almost expelled from the 2014 Commonwealth Games in Glasgow for making a political statement in support for Gaza.
The Commonwealth Games Federation shuns any form of political statements being made using the Games as a platform. In his defence, Azizul stressed that his statement was humanitarian in nature and not political.
“It’s inappropriate for any form of protest in a Games venue – we respect everyone’s right to protest out-with. He has had a strong reprimand from his team management and he has apologised. In apologising profusely he now knows any repetition will see a removal of his accreditation,” said Mike Hooper, chief executive of the Commonwealth Games Federation.
Azizul loves to do things without giving a thought first. Those who know of his political leaning would also remember this tweet that was not a reply to a topic, but a reply to actually start a conversation with a certain politician asking the latter to pray for his success, while other sportsmen and women showed political neutrality as they were there representing Malaysians irrespective of political beliefs and creed:
Whatever his political inclination may be, he ought to know that the name “Azizulhasni Awang” reresents all Malaysian He can be Jojoe in private but that name is a household name. While the Menteri Besar of Terengganu should investigate into the allegations made by Azizul, the latter should also remember that for three season in a row he was Terengganu’s Sportsman of the Year. He had receive more than RM20,000 in awards from the state government while the state government has to be fair to 50 other state athletes and state sports associations. It is not the duty of the state government to provide assistance to individual athlete as that remains the duty of the associations to which the respective athlete belongs to. The duty of the state government is only to provide the facilities that can be used to train athletes. This was pointed out by one Dr Aznil Hisham in his Facebook posting:
Dr Aznil went on in another related Facebook posting to say that Azizul could have been more magnanimous and less rude about the whole situation by rewording the statement in a much nicer language.
Najib Razak has always been magnanimous. Why am I including him in this post? If you remember the campaign by Mahathir to oust Najib started in the second half of 2014. Since then Mahathirs goalpost has changed so many times that I have lost count. This includes the inclusion of the Altantuya case by Mahathir in May 2015 when Najib didn’t flinch, and sending out his pariahs to lodge reports overseas in order to put the Premier in a bad light.
When things really seemed bleak for Najib, I asked some of his close associates why hasn’t the PM hit back at Mahathir? Apparently, they asked this question to Najib but he replied saying that the last thing he would want people to see is hi being rude to an elderly figure – and that is VERY un-Asian, let alone not-Malay. Najib’s magnanimity crosses political boundaries and has been seen on occasions taking time to visit opposition leaders who fell ill, and although he was in Turkey when the late Karpal Singh passed away, Najib made a blog entry dedicated to Karpal – in spite of being called a murderer in Parliament by Karpal Singh’s Gobind Singh Deo, and allegation that is baseless and has been proven in a court of law that Najib is not linked to the case in any way. Not once would you hear harsh words being directed towards anyone, including to his detractors.
You would go far being magnanimous, especially when your name is big enough for people to remember. In contrast to Azizulhasni’s uncalled for outburst, Joseph Schooling participated in the Olympics, beat the reigning champion to win the Gold, without a single help from the Singapore government. Yet, when Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong asked for permission for a selfie to be taken with him, Schooling obliged and was gracious about it.
I hope the Menteri Besar of Terengganu would investigate thoroughly Azizulhasni’s allegations and make public the findings. And I also hope that the state would assist him with his road bike, using state funds. And as pointed out by Dr Aznil Hisham, if Azizulhasni does not improve and get a Silver in the next Olympics, be prepared to be criticised and eat the humble pie for having used taxpayers’ money but fail to give something back in return. Furthermore, he received RM2.85 million from the Sime Darby Foundation before he went to Rio de Janeiro and will be receiving another RM100,000 from SDF as a reward for his achievement at Rio.
Now, how many RM12,000 road bikes do you think Azizul could have bought before going to Rio with RM2.85 million?
Now, tell me if his outburst on Facebook is justifiable?