MALAYSIA - The declining state of Malaysia's football was raised with an MP asking what strategies were in place to boost its placing.
The issue was raised by Liang Teck Meng (BN - Simpang Renggam) who asked Deputy Youth and Sports Minister Datuk M. Saravanan what strategies were in place to check the declining state of football in the country.
Saravanan said the national football team had done well despite failing to defend its AFF Suzuki 2012 Cup and ASEAN Games gold.
"Malaysia jumped to 141 in FIFA's ranking which is above our main rivals like Thailand, Singapore and Indonesia," he said.
He added that the National Football Development Plan, to be launched on April 10, was a long-term plan covering two phases between 2014 and 2030.
However, Tan Sri Anuar Musa (BN - Kereteh), who stood to ask a supplementary question, described Saravanan's answer as "loose" and asked if Saravanan understood football well.
"The management of football in the country is unique as no one can question the governing body (Football Association of Malaysia). Football belongs to everyone in the country but it seems that no one can question FAM," he lamented, citing his suspension as FAM deputy president last year for voicing his views to the media over the management of football.
He claimed that the quality of the sport had declined because of poor management of the respective governing bodies.
"Japan's 'Dare To Dream' football development plan covers a 50-year period. However, football development plans here keep changing each time a new sports minister is appointed," he added.
He urged the ministry to review the plans for proper development of the game.
Saravanan, however, was adamant that the proposed plans go ahead but he said Anuar's proposal would be considered.
Dewan Speaker Tan Sri Pandikar Amin Mulia got lawmakers in stitches when he quipped that it was fortunate the verbal match in the House did not involve diehard football fans as "things would have become more chaotic".