The seriousness of the ongoing war of words between Sports Commissioner Suhardi Alias and the Olympic Council of Malaysia (OCM) has forced the hand of the Youth and Sports Ministry, which will arrange for a meeting between the two parties – “soon”.
The Sports Commissioner’s Office issued a statement this morning, saying the ministry would help settle the row, amicably. In clarifying the brief statement, a ministry official told the members of the media that “the regret is over the statements made by the Sports Commissioner”.
On Nov 16, Twentytwo13 reported on a meeting between Suhardi and representatives from the Malaysia Electronic Sports Governance Association (MEGA) that took place two days earlier.
In the course of the meeting, Suhardi allegedly claimed that he had the power to deregister OCM, while also comparing the Council to what was happening in Gaza. He also allegedly called one of his predecessors an “idiot” for approving so many sports associations.
An audio recording of the meeting has been making its rounds, with OCM sharing the condensed version.
Since then, OCM has hit back, with its president, Tan Sri Norza Zakaria slamming Suhardi for ‘threatening’ to deregister the umbrella body, while his deputy, Datuk Hamidin Amin, demanded Suhardi to apologise to OCM. Several other sports leaders also weighed in on the spat.
On Nov 19, Suhardi issued a statement, saying many within the sporting community believed that Hamidin, who is also the FA of Malaysia president, should apologise to the association’s members and the Malaysian public for failing to achieve the gold medal target at the SEA Games in May.
He added that OCM was not above the law and subject to rules and requirements in the Sports Development Act (Act 576), as highlighted in Sections 8 and 9.
Yesterday, OCM issued another statement, demanding that Youth and Sports Minister Hannah Yeoh curb “the extreme belligerence” shown by Suhardi “in continuing to be hostile towards OCM”.