THE face of Olympic Council of Malaysia (OCM) for more than three decades is gone.

We bid farewell to Datuk Sieh Kok Chi, the second longest serving honorary secretary of OCM who passed away on Saturday.

Held in high esteem by the sports fraternity, especially the media, Kok Chi, whom i have known since 1993 when i started as a sports reporter, was easily the most accessible sports administrator throughout his tenure from 1992 to 2015. He later served as the assistant honorary secretary until 2019.

An engineer by profession where he retired as the Director of Coastal Engineering of the Drainage and Irrigation Department, Kok Chi was an outspoken official who did not mince his words.

He was a darling to the media because of his quotable and attributable quotes. Kok Chi, widely regarded as a walking sports dictionary, was not afraid to confront and question the establishment.

He was fond of telling people he was brought up through the old education system, where the universal values of honesty and integrity were the cornerstone of the society.

He learned to swim while schooling at Victoria Institution (VI) from 1951 to 1957. At the same time Chin Woo club was beginning to establish itself as a platform for sports-inclined people to converge and participate in its activities. Naturally Kok Chi joined them as a member.

“My conservative parents, having come from China, were not really in favour of their offspring getting involved in sports. My involvement was driven by desire to be active in sports. I attribute my personal development to sports,” he once said.

While pursuing his degree in civil engineering at Universiti Malaya (UM) as the first batch who were placed at Lembah Pantai. Kok Chi was also active in rugby and basketball but as it turned out, he was blessed with a little bit of talent for water polo.

“The privilege of representing Malaysia in the 1965 SEAP Games in Bangkok and the Asian Games also in Bangkok in 1970 remain the highlights of my career.

“Those days my team mates and I had to work part-time as life-guards to raise funds to participate in overseas tournaments. Unlike today, there was little or no Government involvement those days,’ he once told this writer.

Kok Chi succeeded Thong Poh Nyen as the OCM honorary secretary in November 1992. Poh Nyen was the longest serving secretary, helming the position from 1961 to 1992.

His passing, nine months after the demise of his daughter Shen-Nern, is a huge loss to Malaysian sports.


Datuk Sieh Kok @ Kou Chi
Date of Birth: Nov 8, 1938
Family: Two children, Tien Yoong, Shen-Nern (passed away in October 2021).
Education: Bachelor of Engineering (Civil), Universiti Malaya; corporate member of Institution of Engineers (Malaysia), corporate member of the Institution of Civil Engineers (UK 1970-76).
Sports Achievements: Represented Malaysia in water-polo in 1965, 1967 and 1969 South East Asian Peninsular (SEAP) Games and 1970 Asian Games.
Sports Positions held: (1971-74) Secretary of Selangor Swimming Association; (1974-1982) secretary of Amateur Swimming Union of Malaysia (ASUM); (1982-1992) ex-officio Olympic Council of Malaysia (OCM); (1989-90) seconded to National Sports Council (NSC) from the Drainage and Irrigation Department; (1989) Technical Chairman of the 1989 Kuala Lumpur SEA Games, (1991) full-time volunteer at OCM; (May 1991-Jan 1992) Executive Secretary of Malaysia’s Commonwealth Games bid; 2003 Vietnam SEA Games Advisor; Honorary Secretary OCM (1992-2015); Assistant Honorary Secretary (2015-2021); Conferred the National Sports Figure Award in 2022. Inducted into OCM Hall of Fame in 2019.