BY ZULHILMI ZAINAL Follow on Twitter
Malaysian FA (FAM) president Tunku Ismail Sultan Ibrahim has confirmed his resignation from the post and decision to stay on as chairman of M-League organiser Football Malaysia LLP (FMLLP), in a press conference held in Johor Bahru on Sunday.
He first voiced his decision to step down on March 16, in a post published on FAM's social media. However, the FAM board later commented that they have not received the Johor Darul Ta'zim FC (JDT) owner's formal resignation letter, and pleaded for him to remain in the post.
In the Sunday press conference that was held following FMLLP's second congress, Tunku Ismail, who is also known as TMJ by fans, also revealed that the FMLLP board has agreed to change its name to Malaysia Football League (MFL), which will operate independently of FAM.
Ever since its inception in 2015, the FMLLP chairman post had been held by the sitting FAM president.
When asked by the press for his reason behind his resignation as FAM president; Tunku Ismail frankly responded that he does not want waste his time working for those he deems not as smart as he is.
He was voted as FAM president exactly one year ago; March 25 2017.
Tunku Ismail during last year's FAM congress, in which he was voted president. Photo by Zulhilmi Zainal
"As president, I've achieved many things; the U23, U19 and U16 national teams reached the continental stage last year, while I've secured multiple sponsorships. But I was always judged by the Malaysia national team's performance. And the fans don't view me as a president, but as a competitor; the owner of the best club in the country JDT, which is a not-so-intelligent point of view.
"One of my principles is that my time is precious. No matter how much money or power one has, time is something that cannot be redeemed. To put it simply, I don't want to serve those who are 'bodoh' (Malay for idiots). I'd rather serve those who are intelligent, those who can view the performance and appreciate my hardwork.
"I told Dato' Hamidin (Hamidin Amin, FAM general-secretary) when I was voted as FAM president last year, I'd only be president for one year, just to reorganise the structure. Now I'm not interested in the national team [anymore], good luck to them, I'm only interested in overseeing the integrity of the league," explained the Crown Prince of the state of Johor.
He added that he has performed well as FMLLP chairman, and will continue to serve the M-League by bringing in more sponsorships.
"We (M-League) are now structured like the English Premier League and La Liga are. My performance is remarkable, I am the best guy in the business, maybe in the country and Southeast Asia; this face makes money! The main problem with Malaysian football is the lack of money. If I were selfish, I'd have left both FAM and FMLLP and all clubs will collapse within five years. Football is getting more expensive to run.
"But I'm too kind for my own good, and I still want to take care of the league's interests. My responsibility as the chairman of MFL is to procure more fundings for Malaysian leagues and clubs," said Tunku Ismail.
Tunku Ismail ended the press conference with some choice parting words.
"Good luck to the national team, FAM, the disciplinary and referee committees, I don't want to know [them] anymore. My job is to only oversee the structure of the league.
"I don't want to serve those who don't deserve TMJ. I am like a tiger, and a tiger shouldn't serve a flock of sheep. Tigers and sheep can never get along, and a tiger must only serve his brethren.
"I'm going to be more powerful, you did not know what you have just done; you have unleashed the tiger," remarked the royalty ominously.