Johor Darul Takzim (JDT) caused a stir recently when they cut centre-back Baihakki Khaizan from their side midway through the Malaysia Super League (MSL) season.
The Singapore international first announced the news through his Instagram page on Saturday, stating that he would be "rested" for the rest of JDT's remaining eight league games as well as both their cup journeys. The 30-year-old also added that he would return to don JDT II's colours next season.
JDT and Johor FA president Tunku Ismail Idris subsequently released an official statement a day later, where he clarified that the decision had been taken in conjunction with former coach Cesar Jimenez, who has since been replaced by Bojan Hodak.
“Baihakki is a phenomenal defender," the Crown Prince wrote. "However, for us to compete with foreign strikers from opposing teams, we need a defender with vast international experience. Cesar suggested that we needed a defender with greater physical ability.”
The situation has not gone down well with Baihakki's fans and the majority of Goal Singapore readers believe he never should have made the move across the Causeway, with 29.2% indicating so. 24.8% also believe that Baihakki deserved to be treated better.
"Money buys everything, so our Bai is treated like a piece of thing with no sentiment value anymore," AJAJ commented. "It really really is a very sad day and also for JDT to treat our best player like that."
"Win 3 ASEAN titles and 1 MSL not experienced enough?", Kieran Chia questioned, while Eddie OZ labelled JDT's management as "rascal". Bo Yan added: "Don't buy Baihakki if he is not experienced in the first place."
A further 25.2% called for him to be brought back to Singapore and there were fans who expressed similar sentiments, as they clamoured for him to return to the LionsXII.
"Come on back to where you belong, you'll be appreciated better here in LionsXII," Zul Haqim stated.
However, 20.8% feel that he should accept the decision as he is a professional player and has signed a contract that lasts four years. It is believed JDT will continue to pay Baihakki even during this rest period.
"It;s part and parcel of being a professional and sadly though at JDT," Hisham Ismail reasoned. "Mind you, Bai gets paid around $30,000, which he signed so by hook or crook he has to accept. Even though its painful hearing, but his pocket is full."
"Nobody put a gun on their head to sign the contract; be grateful you still got a fat paycheck," was a harsher assessment by Fadzlien Encem.