BY ZULHILMI ZAINAL Follow on Twitter
Hours after it was announced on Thursday that Malaysia have dropped down to the 178th position in the FIFA ranking, its lowest ever position, the Malaysian FA (FAM) president Tunku Ismail Sultan Ibrahim announced his resignation from the post.
In an announcement made on FAM's social media pages, Tunku Ismail, who is also the owner of Malaysian league giants Johor Darul Ta'zim (JDT), wrote that he feels responsible for the national team's mediocre performance, while at the same time listing the success achieved by the junior national teams, as well as the partnerships and sponsorships he obtained for the league since he was elected to the post in March 2017. Interestingly, his supposed resignation came just 10 days short of the one-year mark of his FAM presidency.
"I have fought for broadcasting rights for all competing teams in the Liga Malaysia, to help them manage and strenghten their financial stability. History is made when for the first time, all the teams have received between RM1 million to RM3 million annually, so they do not have to be dependent on government funding.
"The U23, U19 and U16 teams have managed to make history when they represented the country in the highest level in Asia.
Recently the national team's ranking fell three places and this is a very big failure. With that being said, I think it is time that President of FAM leave football. Thank you for everything and it has been an honour to me to serve Malaysian Football. Good luck," wrote Tunku Ismail, who is also known to fans as TMJ.
His club JDT also published the same announcement, but curiously included an additional line; "To my loved Bangsa Johor and all the fans of Johor Darul Ta'zim (JDT) around the world, my wife and kids... Daddy's home!" perhaps hinting at his desire to take a greater role at the Southern Tigers once again.
However, the next morning the FAM secretary-general Dato' Hamidin Amin announced that the executive council (exco) members of the association will turn down Tunku Ismail's decision, due to the association's achievements under Tunku Ismail.
Furthermore, the exco members are required to submit a formal letter if they were to step down, following which the exco will decline or accept the decision.
"After reviewing it (Tunku Ismail's post), I am of the opinion that the statement was only made because of his frustration at the netizens who would blame the president everytime the Harimau Malaya' s ranking position dropped. Tunku Ismail does not need to resign as the president of FAM because of this.
"It's difficult to please everyone. Although he can't satisfy his detractors' demands, he has actually satisfied the stakeholders of Malaysian football; the teams, players, coaches, officials, fans and supporters alike.
"I would like to emphasise that Tunku Ismail is still the FAM president as according to the FAM procedure, any FAM Executive Committee members' decision to resign must be made through a formal letter, and the FAM Executive Committee has the power to accept or reject the decision," explained Hamidin.