BANGI, Jan 25 — Fresh from his meetings with the protagonists, Youth and Sports Minister Datuk Seri Ahmad Faizal Azumu has hinted that a solution to the Badminton Association of Malaysia (BAM)-Lee Zii Jia issue is in sight.
Ahmad Faizal, who met world number seven Zii Jia and also former world junior champion Goh Jin Wei yesterday, said all parties seemed committed to resolving the controversy in the interests of the nation.
“I have also spoken to BAM president Tan Sri Mohamad Norza Zakaria; both parties are committed to placing national interests as the utmost priority,” he told reporters after opening the National Youth Consultative Council meeting here today.
Commenting on his separate closed-door meetings with Zii Jia and Jin Wei, he said both players gave different reasons for quitting BAM, which led to their two-year suspension from international competitions.
“I listened and believe BAM would also listen to what they have to say; so we pray for a good outcome. It’s inappropriate for me to disclose publicly what was discussed (at meetings). It was more of my advice to them, like a brother guiding his younger siblings,” he added.
“I hope we all respect this. Any problems can be resolved in the best way possible if personal and group interests are sacrificed for the sake of national interests.
“This is what I told the two, and I think they understand. I’m praying for Zii Jia’s meeting with the BAM leadership today to lead to the best solution,” he said.
On Friday, BAM deputy president Datuk Seri Jahaberdeen Mohamed Yunoos announced that the national body would not register Zii Jia for any international competitions for two years effective from Jan 18.
This followed All England champion Zii Jia’s decision to quit BAM on Jan 11 to turn professional, because he could not take the pressure and “regimented lifestyle” in BAM.
Jin Wei, who resigned from BAM last September before eventually turning professional, was similarly suspended for two years effective Oct 31, 2021.