A 'tough' decision
While it was a difficult decision to take, Singapore Athletic Association (SAA) president Tang Weng Fei (right) says he had no choice but to recommend the suspension of two key officials at the body's Extraordinary General Meeting on Tuesday night.
The Straits Times reported yesterday that SAA vice-president (organising and competition) Loh Chan Pew and vice-president (training and selection) Steven Lee have been suspended until June, when the body elects a new executive committee at their annual general meeting.
Loh was cited after he "misbehaved" at an SAA exco meeting last month. He then sent a complaint to the Singapore Sports Council (SSC), making allegations against a fellow senior SAA official.
Lee, meanwhile, had contacted the sport's world governing body IAAF - without Tang's knowledge - about SAA's operating procedures.
Speaking to The New Paper yesterday, Tang said: "It's an unnecessary headache for me. It's tough, as a leader, to have to take action against some of my closest friends.
"But you cannot use a personal crusade to hurt the association."
Loh was quoted in ST claiming it was "strange that the whistle-blower is being suspended".
But Tang stressed that Loh's suspension was not because he had sent a letter of complaint to SSC.
Tang, who has led the SAA since 2010, said: "We are not saying he misbehaved by sending a complaint.
"But rather, he was suspended because of the events leading up to the complaint."
TNP understands that at an exco meeting held two weeks after last December's South-east Asia (SEA) Games in Myanmar, Tang had asked Loh to step down from his post as interim high performance chief.
But Loh, who had been in the post since March last year, insisted he wanted to continue until after the SEA Games in Singapore next year.
Tang said Loh became "aggressive", verbally abused some members and almost came to blows with another SAA official.
He stormed out of the meeting, and later resigned as interim high performance chief.
Two members of SAA's sports development and performance department, Loh's deputy, Tim Ng, and Roger Tan, resigned later.
Loh later complained to SSC, alleging a senior SAA official had, among other things, submitted excessive mileage claims after using the official vehicle.
He could not be reached for comment yesterday.
A three-man inquiry panel has been set up.
SAA vice-president (finance) William Wong has stepped in as interim vice-president (organising and competition) while SAA adviser C. Kunalan will temporarily replace Lee.