Soon Kooi ‘clears air’ over sudden resignation
DATUK Ow Soon Kooi likes to stay away from controversies, and is always diplomatic even though the situation warrants otherwise.
And so it came as a surprise when he called for a press conference to clear the air on why he resigned from the Malaysian Hockey Confederation (MHC) vice-president as well as the coaching committee chairman post in a huff.
He had then cited health reasons for quitting every post in the MHC. But yesterday he said he had to clear the air as allegations in news and other media had tarnished his “corporate-man” image.
And many personalities from the Malaysian hockey fraternity attended his press conference at the Olympic Council of Malaysia hotel yesterday.
In walked 1975 World Cup members Datuk Poon Fook Loke, R. Pathmarajah and skipper Datuk Sri Shanmuganathan.
And also turning up was 1975 World Cup top umpire Datuk G. Vijayanathan who blew during the India-Pakistan final.
Former National Juniors coach Balbir Singh, international Gurmit Singh, M. Sambu were there too, and it looked like a re-union of greats as even some women national players came.
But it was not a merry get-together, as they had come to listen to former skipper and two-time Olympian as well as two-time World Cup player Soon Kooi speak his heart.
Soon Kooi started by presenting all the work his committee has done over the years, with statistics, to show that his committee was not dormant as alleged by many.
And he also said the reason why they had only one meeting in 2016 was that everything was in place by then, and they ran the show by making decisions on a social media group-chat.
Soon Kooi said his reputation as a “corporate man” was built on being strict about rules and hierarchy. He doesn’t believe in breaking rank, and followed procedure to be where he is today from a poor, very poor background.
Being a former policeman did not “help” when he watched others breaking the hierarchy rules.
And when MHC officials made decisions on behalf of his committee and compelled them to follow — it made him mad.
He gave examples, which named four officials of being guilty, with the prime target being Technical Director Terry Walsh.
Soon Kooi gave examples where Walsh made coaching decisions without consulting his committee, and it made them wonder who is running the show.
Citing an example, Soon Kooi narrated about the hiring of Paul Lissek to become the indoor hockey consultant for Sea Games.
Walsh had approached Soon Kooi about the matter and when asked, he was told that Lissek is willing to work for free or at a nominal fee — as Lissek had coached the Malaysian field hockey team before and was very knowledgeable about indoor hockey as well.
Soon Kooi and Walsh agreed on an RM X amount to be paid to Lissek as a consultant. But after three weeks, Soon Kooi found out that Lissek was being paid six and a half time higher than the discussed salary.
When he asked an MHC official about it, the official said he had raised the salary all by himself – without consulting anybody.
There were many other examples of meddling in his committee, but the Lissek episode broke the camel’s back, and coupled with his nagging neck pain, Soon Kooi decided to call it a day.
Attempts to call and SMS MHC president Datuk Seri Subahan Kamal to clear the air on the above issue were not answered. Jugjet Singh