Tuesday, 1 April 2008

KLCA Congratulates Edmund Santhara - Young Entrepreneur of the Year

So, who is Edmund Santhara? That was the question posed to me after many read that there now a Kuala Lumpur Chess Association (KLCA) they could join and be part of a revolution for change in Malaysian chess.

Well, unless you have been blind or do not read the newspapers, for a start, Edmund Santhara was not only named as Emerging Entrepreneur of the Year but also won the award for Entrepreneur of the Year, the first time someone has won both titles. And under his leadership, his organisation Masterskill also won the Prime Minister's Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) Award.

But frankly there are too many awards to mention so perhaps it is best you just go to www.masterskill.edu.my to read for yourself!

Curious about the local chess scene, Edmund Santhara actually quietly took part in the Malaysian Chess Festival where I was informed he rightly but gently told off the former FIDE (World Chess Federation) President Florencio F. Campomanes who tried to take back a move and of course he went on to win the game!

While Campo is not quite as strong as he thinks he is, he is of course no pushover if you don't play well, so Edmund Santhara is clearly a strong player.

It is interesting that Edmund Santhara has been promoting the importance and benefits of chess in corporate circles for a long time by simply telling all that his strategic thinking comes from being chess player and with his business success is himself the very living proof!

The 1st Masterskill ASEAN+ Youth Team (U-9, U-12, U-15) Championships from 1-7 December 2007 in Shah Alam which was jointly sponsored and organised by the Minstry of Education Malaysia through Majlis Sukan Sekolah Malaysia (MSSM) was his first foray into supporting local chess and it is says a lot about how he thinks that he quickly grasped and understood the importance of introducing an U-9 age group category because we need to encourage children to start chess earlier so that we have time to nurture their talent and enthusiasm for the game. Now Masterskill has included chess developmental activities as part of their official CSR agenda and the local chess community is already benefiting from having a new permanent sponsor.

With KLCA, Edmund Santhara looks to becoming more engaged with the challenges of Malaysian chess and I am very happy that he is committed to putting in place a model local chess association and hopefully the offer I heard that has been made to him to lead the Malaysian Chess Federation is not just lip service or worst still, an attempt by vested parties to get a new figurehead to replace an aging Dato' Tan Chin Nam whose 35 years or so at the helm you should best judge for yourself!

Tuesday, 1 January 2008

The Kuala Lumpur Chess Association is Formed!

The Kuala Lumpur Chess Association (KLCA) has now been set-up under the leadership of its first President, Edmund Santhara, CEO of Masterskill.

This is a very interesting development because we now have a chess player who after becoming a successful businessman is getting involved in the administration of the game in our country.

In the past the leaders of our game were either drawn from reluctant VIPs who nonetheless did what they could (until the game got to them!) or from those associated with their game because they were once chess parents!

From what I have seen and understood in Malaysian chess, having returned now for over a year after a 12 year exit, such change can only be positive for the game and I ask that all those who think they are doing chess a favour by holding on to their positions while non performing to gracefully step aside and let a new generation take over.

A year ago no one in the local chess community heard of Edmund Santhara, but while he is an outstanding example, I am sure there are many more who will step forward once there is sent to be positive developments. 

It was a big shock for me to see that there has been essentially no progress in the game since the Malaysian Chess Federation was formed 35 years ago, and it horrifies me that today it is no more than a vehicle for a number of people, many whom are my peers, to make a living - there must be a better way for all!

KLCA is the first and to date only sports association registered under the Sports Commission, a long standing requirement for even those under the Registrar of Societies and I am sure with this development, all our local chess organisations, be it at national, state or club level would be scrambling to comply.

I understand that Edmund Santhara is looking to have a very professionally run organisation, Mohd Nasri Mohd Nordin as his Deputy, Prof. Proom Promwichit as Honorary Secretary and his company's accountant as Honorary Treasurer!

The intention is to set new standards for communications, particularly via website and with media, together with compliance with legal, statutory. and regulatory matters pertaining to the day to day running of an association, while having a practicing partner in an accounting firm as Honorary Treasurer will certainly ensure the financials are in order!

It is hoped that the six committee members will eventually be largely drawn from local chess community but will not include those who largely depend on chess for a living to avoid conflicts of interest.

At this pro-temp stage, Edmund Santhara will head the Finance sub-committee, Mohd Nasri Mohd Nordin the Development sub-committee, while I have agreed to be an Advisor, the interim webmaster, and until a suitable candidate is identified, to head the Technical sub-committee.