Political instability will (hopefully) no longer hamper Malaysian football in FA to FC change

The political landscape in Malaysia influences football and this has been evident in recent times following the change in government.

While Sabah prepares for a snap election and talk of a looming general election heightens, state FAs are in limbo yet again over their finances which have already been severely impacted by the Covid-19 pandemic.

Politicians in Malaysia value football as it’s the best way to win the hearts of voters and have no qualms spending taxpayers’ money on the sport.

The M-League turned professional in 1994. The manner in which football is run in the country is far from it as elected representatives continue to occupy positions within state FAs while aided by political appointees.

Millions of ringgit of state government funds are channelled to the teams. Yet, financial issues and non-payment of wages continue to make the headlines.

The FA of Malaysia (FAM) is bent on ending this.

Come Sept 30, teams will have to change from FA to FC for the 2021 M-League season. It will also mark the beginning of a long, winding road in a bid to raise sustainable football outfits.

FAM general secretary Stuart Ramalingam was quick to admit it will not be smooth sailing, but the national body is determined to ensure football teams in Malaysia are financially sound and well-managed.

“Corporatisation is about profit-making. If run by the state associations, it’s not profit-making,” said Stuart, during a media briefing at Wisma FAM today.

“The shape of our industry will change and it’s for the better but the stakeholders must understand the demands of privatisation.”

Corporatisation, in the form of an FC, comes at a price. With teams now being Sdn Bhd entities registered under the Companies Commission of Malaysia and with company details on public domain, there will be transparency and accountability – words most current office bearers will have to get accustomed to.

This would perhaps push these new companies to eradicate counterfeit jerseys and mufflers and start selling original merchandises to raise money, which could be more expensive. It could also mean an increase in ticket prices.

There are efforts to get the state government secretaries to sit in the FCs, hoping for some form of influence (and money) within the organisation. This would also mean the individual will be held accountable for losses made by the company.

But this should not stop government-linked companies from investing in the sport where politicians can still have bragging rights, while utilising state government money on essentials like healthcare, education and infrastructure. Players and coaches would be assured of better protection, hopefully, starting next season.

Stuart highlighted the challenges in taking action against state FAs in the past, stressing FAM’s role is limited to football activities.

“FAM is not a common court. We can take action against footballing activities by deducting points and holding back grants but once a team is closed down, we can’t do anything.”

He cited Perlis FA as an example. The state FA has been suspended as it has yet to pay off its debts.

A total of 21 state FAs and clubs will be involved in this transition.

“Through this system, office bearers of the teams can’t just resign and run away anymore. They will be held accountable,” he added.

Here’s a round-up of The News Normal today.

FINE, JAIL FOR ‘PINK WRISTBAND’ WOMAN

The Ipoh magistrate’s court sentenced a 72-year-old woman to a day’s jail and RM8,000 fine after she pleaded guilty to not adhering to home quarantine rules last month.

Nur Emah Mohamad Hashim committed the offence at Hanaz Cafe in Meru Raya at 8am on July 6 and was charged under Section 22 (b) of the Prevention and Control of Infectious Diseases Act 1988. The accused had returned from the United Kingdom and was put under 14-day home surveillance from July 4 to 18.

Pictures of her dining at the restaurant with a pink wristband made the rounds on social media, thus the moniker ‘Pink Wristband Woman’. She later tested positive for Covid-19 and received treatment at the Raja Permaisuri Bainun Hospital in Ipoh.

SHAH ALAM COUNCIL ENFORCEMENT DIRECTOR NABBED

The Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) arrested an enforcement director from the Shah Alam City Council on suspicion of protecting illegal business operators and gambling activities.

The arrest comes following the release of a video by Hot Burger Malaysia founder Mohd Asri Hamid who said he was frustrated with the double standards by the city council which had taken action against his burger stall but allegedly did not act against those who ran illegal activities in the area.

MACC has thus far nabbed 10 council enforcement officers and a trader as part of its investigations.

TOURISM SELANGOR TO EXTEND ‘PUSING SELANGOR DULU’ PROMO TO 2021

Tourism is one of the hardest hit sectors of the Covid-19 pandemic, but Tourism Selangor may have found a way to bounce back.

Its Pusing Selangor Dulu campaign, announced in June, will be extended until next year. Tourism Selangor general manager Azrul Shah Mohamad said the campaign was to entice local residents to explore the state.

CANADA DONATES MASKS TO MALAYSIA

Canada has contributed 120,000 N95 masks to Malaysia in its fight against Covid-19.

Canadian High Commissioner to Malaysia Julia G. Bentley congratulated the Health Ministry for its role in effectively managing the pandemic. The masks arrived in Malaysia last month and are expected to arrive at the Health Ministry’s warehouse soon.

Canada is supporting several other Asean nations, including Brunei, Laos, Myanmar, the Philippines and Vietnam, by providing personal protective equipment aid.