Q: Thank you Dato' Tan for agreeing to this interview. The big news for the chess community is that you are once again running for Malaysian Chess Federation President in the coming elections. Why are you coming out of retirement to do this? You stepped down ten years ago while continuing to financially contribute to Malaysian chess in many ways, most notably with the Malaysian Chess Festival.
A: I am disappointed that there has been no progress these last ten years and to see the constant financial problems of the Malaysian Chess Federation which I have even from time to time helped them with. It is not my nature to criticise anyone but my track record is there for all to see as is my love and devotion to chess over forty years now and I want to put to get the Malaysian Chess Federation on the right track financially and also there is a need to restructure it so that every state affiliate will have a full and equal stake in its council and decision making.
Q: You understand that you will have to be elected and that will involve campaigning? This has never been your style to fight like this for a position.
A: I believe that everyone would know about and recognise my many contributions to Malaysian chess and I will do what is necessary to win the support of the state affiliates in the Malaysian Chess Federation, many of which I have supported and some I am even still helping today and will help when asked.
Q: Can Dato' offer more specifics of exactly you are offering? There has been talk of giving a chess centre, of ensuring there is a Malaysian Open in perpetuity, a national wide Grand Prix and so on.
A: To start with I will set up an office for the Malaysian Chess Federation with an Executive Director. This will ensure a separation of the functions of policy making from operating and execution. Then as I said earlier I will clear any liabilities and prepare a budget so as to be able to put in enough funds to allow the Malaysian Chess Federation to function smoothly. Next will be, also as I said earlier, to restructure the council to reduce appointments to a bare minimum and instead have a council made up of representatives from all the state affiliates. With this in place we can identify the activities we need to have and I will find the money for these.
Q: This is all well and good but what after? This is not a sustainable model without your personal generosity.
A: I have been a success in all that I have done and as you can see I have had succession plans for all my businesses and in this I have also succeeded as they have prospered without me at the helm. It is the same with the Malaysian Chess Federation. I will ensure that it too will remain financially sound through my foundation and corporate sponsorship put in place together with grants from the government. Besides demonstrating the benefits of chess, the key is putting in a governance structure that will give all confidence to invest in Malaysian chess.