26 March 2013

MCF Elections – An Analysis

I was happy to read Ilham’s observation of Shafruddin’s and Tse Pin’s optimistic views of the new MCF (Anecdote No. 6) in his latest blog posting.   I had been in two minds whether to put my analysis of the recent MCF Elections into writing but finally decided to do so as I now believe that it will be taken in a positive light. So here goes.

Let me first make clear that I did not attend the MCF AGM. So my analysis is based on discussion with several attendees and other sources.

(1)   12 states sent delegations making up a total of 36 delegates.
(2)   6 sitting council members who were not delegates.

(Note: Of the 13 sitting council members, 6 were also state delegates while one person, VP Michael Kimin, was not present)

The ground rules were:
(1)   Only state delegates were allowed to stand for elections, as per advice from COS;
(2)   Only nominations received by the due date (2 weeks before AGM date, I think) were valid.

Eligible Voters & Process:
(1)   Delegates received one vote each, making it 36 voters from the delegates;
(2)   Council members present who were not delegates had one vote each, totaling 6 votes. These were Hamid, Ibrahim Yaakob, Mok, Greg, Haslindah and Zuraihah.

There were thus a total of 42 eligible voters. 
All the votes were made by secret ballot, so the voters don’t have to put up their hands.

The Results:

Deputy President: Dato' Sri Dr. Edmund Santhara was returned unopposed.
Comment: I believe that the general chess community regards Dato’ Sri as a welcome addition to the MCF Council and in all their wisdom, no one stood against his candidature. A good sign. No indication here of any factional fight.

Vice President (Sabah/Sarawak): Muammar Julkarnain was unopposed.
Comment: I don’t know him personally, so I am not qualified to say anything. Again no indication of any factional fight, another good sign.

Vice President (Open): 2 Positions
Candidates: Ghalam (31), Lee (27), Shafruddin (23)
(Note: Numbers in brackets are not their ages but the votes received. Add about 25 or so to get their ages).
Elected: Ghalam & Lee

Three very strong candidates, all of them President of their respective state associations. Shafruddin and Lee are long-time Presidents of CAS and PCA respectively and has been doing good chess work in recent years. Ghalam is the newly minted Deputy President of Terengganu CA.

Ghalam, the Terengganu chess stalwart got the lion share of the votes (about 75%), in fact the most for any candidate for the contested positions. Now, Ghalam has been out of the chess scene for more than 15 years. I believe I actually played him in 3 of his last ‘major’ events before he disappeared. I won in the first round of the 1996 Selangor Open (White against Ghalam’s Grundfeld), drew at the 1996 Merdeka Team Championship (Inter- State Category) (White side of Grunfeld), and in between lost in another event that  I could not remember (Black side of a French Tarrasch).

That Ghalam got so many votes speaks of the high quality, knowledge and wisdom of the voters. They knew who Ghalam is and what he represents. These would be the ‘orang lama’ of Malaysian chess. The only surprise is that Ghalam did not get more votes, probably due to newbies among the electorate. Maybe vested interests?

Lee and Shafruddin probably lost out to Ghalam due to not being actual chess players. (Ghalam was considered as one of Malaysia’s strongest players in his younger days, although he is not that old yet)
There was really not much to choose between Lee and Shafruddin as shown by the close vote. Each of them received approval from more than 50% of the voters.

I consider the VP positions as the most significant (after the Deputy President), and I look forward to the contributions from these Vice-Presidents.

At least 41 of the eligible voters casted valid votes for the VP postitions. Again I did not detect any factional fighting. The candidates were voted on based on their own merits and not due to affiliation (if any) to any camps (if any).

Council Members: 5 Positions
Candidates: Tse Pin (28), Farouqi (27), Kamaruddin (27), Ismail (25), Yeap (24), Eddy Kwan (18), Haq (18), Hairul (15), Shaharuddin (10), Amir (6).
Elected: Tse Pin, Farouqi, Kamaruddin, Ismail, Yeap.

Tse Pin has been MCF Rating Officer for many years while Farouqi and Yeap are familiar faces on the national chess scene in recent years. Ismail is of course former Police World Champion, a quiet but respected member of the Malaysian chess community for many, many years. I would say that these four elected members are ‘workers’ and have proven their mettle. Their election is entirely on their own merits. No factional fighting detected. Truly, I’d say the best people got in.

The only anomaly is the 27 votes for Kamaruddin, who is the Secretary of the Persatuan Catur Negeri Perak (PCNP) and a virtual unknown at national level chess. I have known Kamaruddin for some 6 years now and we are on good personal terms so I’m sure he won’t mind me saying this. But how the heck did he get so many votes? I have spoken to several people about this and everyone seems to be a bit blur and could not offer any good explanation. (Good thing, I did not ask the wrong person because surely he will scream “Fixed!!!”). My final conclusion is that there were higher forces at work. Just wait and see.

Gens Una Sumus
Some quarters were promoting the view that there would be factional fighting for MCF positions. However from my analysis above, I am very happy to conclude that the voters in their wisdom, made their choices based on the merits of the candidates, and for the good of Malaysian chess.

In fact, the votes received by Kamaruddin (27) and Haq (18) dispel any notion of factional voting. Haq is seen as clearly Zuhri’s man, while some quarters attempt to put Kamaruddin as Tan Sri Ramli’s guy. If so, it would be a proxy war. But then, how do we explain Kamaruddin getting 27 votes compared to Tan Sri’s 20 votes and Zuhri’s 20 votes to Haq’s 18. Of course, if you wish to maintain that argument, then it goes that more than 50% of state delegates were with Tan Sri, if not with him personally. (You can do the maths yourself.)

My analysis therefore indicates that there was no factional fighting. Gens Una Sumus.

For sure, there was serious campaigning before the elections, but that was limited to the President’s post. There is nothing wrong with that. After all, this is a political contest and campaigning for votes is a perfectly acceptable exercise. The Malaysian chess community should be proud to have people fighting for a chance to find money for Malaysian chess. The MCF Presidency must be worth something.

I dare say that this is the best elections in MCF’s almost 40-year history. Compared to previous elections, I would say this latest edition is the cleanest and most open ever, if not the only clean and open one.


  1. Why did not do analysis on the President votes and the subsequent re-vote?

  2. I think the votes for Kamaruddin is not for him personally but more for the Perak State Chess Association. PICA is one of the most active and best-managed State Associations for many years. The Malaysian chess community is giving PICA this recognition by voting its representative.

  3. hahaha, mebbe support PICA sacking the ex Selection Chairman who abuse his position and unfairly selecting his own son at expense of more qualified candidate like Sumant and Yit San.

  4. Ghalam is actually Terengganu Chess Asscociation's Deputy President (not TCA's President)

  5. Abdul Haq probably also lost for his association with PICA ex selection chairman.

  6. Ilham, thanks for the info. I've addded 'Deputy' as a correction of Ghalam's position in TCA.

    Jimmy, an analysis of the President's vote was done but not published as I wanted to keep the posting positive. Since Unca Jimmy asked so politely, maybe I'' reconsider but after some heavy editing to cut out as much negativeness as I can.

  7. Some despicable fella, on his blog, questioned my sources and motives as follows:

    "ps: Has anyone also wondered who gave Eddy the detailed breakdown on votes? Who would do that and for what reason? What would be Eddy's benefit from trying to distort the perception of the results of the AGM?"

    Wahh!! 3 questions at one go.

    'Phor Kai' for once to answer that guy who I usually just ignore.

    Question 1
    Has anyone also wondered who gave Eddy the detailed breakdown on votes?

    The vote breakdown has been publicly accessible on the 'Persatuan Catur Negeri Perak' facebook page for more than 2 weeks (since just after the AGM). This is an unbelievable question by a person who apparently has nothing better to do than scour Malaysian chess news with a tooth comb. Since I cannot believe he doesn't know about the publicly available info, surely his question has questionable motives.

    Question 2
    Who would do that and for what reason?

    Kamaruddin maintains the PCNP facebook page. I think Kamaruddin is sincere in sharing the info if not also to publicise his own election into the Council. One up for a more transparent MCF, instead of 'rumours from unnamed sources"

    Question 3
    What would be Eddy's benefit from trying to distort the perception of the results of the AGM?

    This is a badly-framed question based on the false assumption of "distortion". Since there was no distortion, I cannot be gaining any benefit from that false notion.

    Too bad for me, I should have put in some 'distortion' such that I could have gained some benefit.

  8. As Siew Fai has said, that fool employs "Ambush Marketing". His only trick is to try to smear others with mud to elevate himself into the chess public consciousness. Fortunately most sees this now, if not before.