Pereira announces bid for SA presidency, vowing to quash in-fighting
Pereira looks for unity and transparency as he announces bid to be SA chief
Tang Weng Fei cited in-fighting within Singapore Athletics (SA) as a big reason for him stepping down as president of the national body for track and field.
With Tang sitting among a scrum of local media yesterday, Edmond Pereira revealed that unity and transparency will be key pillars of his team, as they prepare to stand for election at the Annual General Meeting (AGM) on June 27.
Speaking at the Mandarin Orchard, Pereira (above), who is vying to succeed Tang as SA chief, unveiled "Team Athletics", his 14-strong management committee (see box) - with Tang as adviser - and made it clear that moves will be taken to quash "disruptive behaviour" within the decision making body of the SA, if they assume leadership.
Pereira is expected to face a challenge from a team put together by incumbent SA honorary secretary Ho Mun Cheong. The team are believed to include current SA vice-president Loh Chan Pew and former general manager Ong Yeok Phee. Nominations will have to be submitted by Monday.
"I believe we can do a job, but it can be done only if I have the right people alongside me. If you come in for ego and glory, then this is not the place for you," said Pereira, a 66-year-old lawyer.
"The sport will still move forward, because they will have to follow my pace as a leader.
"If I get voted in and they can't work with me, we'll have a problem, but it won't be my problem, it'll be a problem for them."
"I have different ways of dealing with issues (compared to Tang). Even if it's only myself who gets elected, then I will have to get the committee to agree (to plans), and I will set the tone," he added, cryptically.
In the latter years under Tang's watch, Singapore sprint legend C Kunalan revealed that SA was stymied by "disrespectful" arguments within its executive committee.
This was after an opposing faction won five of 14 seats at the last election in 2014.
"In the last two years, we were suffering, and we wasted time arguing about things. (To prevent that) we all must get voted in," he said, pointing to his new teammates.
Kunalan was part of the incumbent SA exco, having served as vice-president (training and selection) from 2010.
Pereira believes his team will bring a fresh perspective, and, along with keeping his management committee out of the day-to-day running of the secretariat, the former national sprinter will set Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) for those in the organisation to keep things above board, while also making plans for leadership renewal.
There will also be a different decision-making process under Pereira.
"There is no executive committee in the constitution of the SA, there's only the management committee (MC). The executive committee, which is a loosely formed group of senior officials that has become like an institution, was a construct of the past which unfortunately continued and became a problem," said Pereira.
"We will not shut anyone out, even if my whole team don't get elected. We will make decisions as an entire MC."
If Pereira has his way, athletes will also have a voice.
"This is not football or hockey, we're an individual sport and we must hear our athletes. I will have athlete representation in the MC, if it's possible," he added.
The lawyer has represented athletes in the past, in court cases against the National Sport Association.
He also had two failed attempts to take over the sport's leadership, in 1983 and 2000.
"We are here for the athletes, and we want to have open dialogue with them," he said.
"They will be consulted and their views respected."
Pereira emphasised that for the sport to move forward, the synergy present in his entire MC is vital, and he urged the sport's affiliates to vote sensibly come June 27.
"I appeal to all affiliates to vote for the future of the sport, and not just vote for their friends, because every single vote will have a bearing on the future of the sport."
‹‹ PEREIRA'S TEAM
l President: Edmond Pereira
l Vice-presidents: Melvin Tan (former national coach) - Training and selection; C Kunalan (former sprinter, incumbent SA committee) - Competitions; Cheng Heng Tan (incumbent SA honorary treasurer) - Finance.
l Honorary secretary: Poh Seng Song (former sprinter, Olympian)
l Honorary assistant secretary: Damon Yong (general manager of SA)
l Honorary Treasurer: Sheena Hu (former sprinter, chartered accountant)
l Statistician: Ron Koh (incumbent SA technical and equipment chairman)
l Women's representative: Lee Yan Lin (former sprinter)
l Committee chairmen: S Govindaraju - Officials Ghana Segaran - Cross-country and road racing Joe Goh - Race walking Jezreel Mok - Technical Rahmatullah - Tug-of-war
l Adviser: Tang Weng Fei