BY ZULHILMI ZAINAL Follow on Twitter
Malaysia's minister of youth and sports Khairy Jamaluddin has expressed his support for the Malaysian FA (FAM), amidst the criticism received by the association in the past few weeks.
Earlier this week, Malaysia dropped to 170th in the latest FIFA ranking, just four spots higher than its lowest ever position.
According to a statement issued by Khairy, there have been short and long-term improvements shown by Malaysian football, since Johor Crown Prince Tunku Ismail Sultan Ibrahim was elected FAM president earlier this year.
"Among the immediate successes attained are the U22 national team's qualification to the 2018 AFC Championship U23, the same team's silver medal-winning run in the 2017 SEA Games, as well as the U19 national team's second place finish in the U19 AFF Championship," he wrote.
He implored fans to not dwell on the recent drop in the FIFA ranking, reminding them that bigger successes cannot be attained overnight by the relatively new FAM leadership.
"Although the country's ranking has fallen, we must be patient in chasing mid and long-term successes, as improvement and change does not happen immediately.
"I realise that we (Malaysians) have been waiting for success patiently for too long, but remember that the new FAM leadership was only elected on March 25 (2017)," noted Khairy.
While reminding all parties to not bring disrepute to the sport through mockery and insults, Khairy also expressed his belief in Tunku Ismail, who is also known as TMJ by fans in the country.
"I hope that the FAM leadership keeps on their good work and ignores all the negativity. Tunku Ismail has a proven track record as the owner of Johor Darul Ta'zim (JDT).
"We must give him time to develop football in the country. I believe he has the magic touch to do for Malaysian football what he has achieved with JDT in the region.
"But that can only happen if we stay positive and keep supporting FAM in whatever endeavours they embark on, in order to transform Malaysia into a giant in Asian football," explained the former FAM vice president.