Singapore Athletics chief to go ahead with EOGM despite SportSg warning
NSA chief to go ahead with EOGM despite warning by SportSg CEO that it is 'unconstitutional'
Singapore Athletics (SA) president Ho Mun Cheong struck a defiant tone last night, after a fresh twist threatened to derail his bid to remove several members of the national sports association's management committee (MC) at a snap election tomorrow.
Yesterday, just minutes before a scheduled press conference where current vice-president (training and selection) Dr G. Balasekaran was due to introduce his team of eight to the media, a letter signed off by Sport Singapore chief executive Lim Teck Yin was handed to members of the MC.
Dr Balasekaran's team, five of whom are current MC members, will be contesting in tomorrow's election against incumbent Ho's team.
In the letter, Lim said that SportSg had "received information that there are concerns among some (MC) members that some of the motions being proposed" for tomorrow's extraordinary general meeting (EOGM) were unconstitutional.
"We have looked into these concerns and agree that the proposed motions are unconstitutional," Lim continued in the letter.
"We urge the management committee to take all necessary steps to ensure that all motions being proposed and passed at the (EOGM) will be in compliance with the constitution of (SA)."
The letter has cast doubt on whether tomorrow's EOGM - and election - will take place at all.
But 68-year-old Ho challenged Lim's opinion, and said the EOGM would go on as planned.
"We will reply to Teck Yin," Ho told The New Paper last night.
We have looked into these concerns and agree that the proposed motions are unconstitutional. Sport Singapore chief executive Lim Teck Yin on Singapore Athletics’ extraordinary general meeting
"We already consulted our lawyer, and (the EOGM) is constitutional, according to him.
"So we will proceed."
In a copy of his e-mail sent to Lim, that was seen by TNP, Ho said that SportSg "merely asserted that the motions are unconstitutional without stating the reasons", and reiterated his stand that it is constitutional.
In a 90-minute press conference at the Singapore Sports Institute yesterday, members of Dr Balasekaran's team disputed the legitimacy of the EOGM.
They said no management committee meeting had been held to propose the motion for the EOGM, as required by SA's constitution.
They also pointed to paragraph 11k of the constitution, which is listed in the notice for EOGM as the reason for the dissolution of the entire MC.
Paragraph 11k states that an MC member may be removed from office if he is absent from three consecutive meetings without explanation, has inadequately discharged his duties, or acted against the character of SA.
The team members said Ho had not proven that all of the 26 members of the MC had fallen foul of the guidelines stated in 11k, and therefore had no right to call for an EOGM and their removal.
Incumbent vice-president (finance) R. Rajandran warned: "There are so many holes in what (Ho is) doing.
"So now... the ball is in (Ho's) court.
"One scenario is to call it off... a sensible person would do that.
"The other is to go through with it, and have hell and fire (consequences)."
Dr Balasekaran and his team also gave their version of events that led to the current rift between his team and Ho and his long-time friend and ally, current vice-president (competitions) Loh Chan Pew.
These included Ho's intention to terminate SA general manager Jaime Cheong's employment - which a majority of the executive committee disagreed with - as well as Ho allegedly appointing himself as the team manager for the athletics contingent at August's South-east Asia (SEA) Games in Kuala Lumpur.
As a result of the split in its management, SA has had its funding withheld by SportSg since July last year, owing to the fact it has not submitted its progress report and multi-year sports plan.
The withheld funding amounts to more than $500,000.
SA have been given a May 12 deadline to submit the documents required by SportSg.
Ho had previously told the media he wanted to dissolve the entire MC and elect a new one as there was a "gridlock" which led to problems such as the withholding of funding.
But Rajandran rebutted: "We have an exco of seven members, and the way it has always been done is we try to convince each other... and go by majority decision.
"But in the major issues proposed by (Ho or Loh), they are not able to convince the majority.
"So their stand is, if the five of you disagree, I bypass you and bring it to the MC.
"Even then, in two MC meetings, after belabouring their point... there was no conclusion.
"So they now bypass the MC, and call the EOGM.
"That's his (Ho's) style - not democratic, but autocratic and unilateral."
Dr Balasekaran stressed that he and his team were opposing Ho and Loh only because they have athletics' best interests in mind.
"We are all volunteers but one thing binds us as a team - passion for the sport," he said.
"Track and field is in our blood."