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Sports council must take responsibility, delegation chief says on SEA Games

Hamidin Mohd Amin defends Youth and Sports Minister Hannah Yeoh after the contingent's performance in Cambodia.

2 minute read
Football Association of Malaysia president Hamidin Mohd Amin. Photo: Bernama
Football Association of Malaysia president Hamidin Mohd Amin. Photo: Bernama

The Malaysian contingent’s chef de mission for the 2024 Paris Olympics, Hamidin Mohd Amin, has urged parties to stop blaming Youth and Sports Minister Hannah Yeoh for the failure of the contingent at the recently concluded Cambodia SEA Games.

Hamidin, who is also the Football Association of Malaysia (FAM) president and Olympic Council of Malaysia (OCM) deputy president, said Yeoh had been working very hard since her appointment as the youth and sports minister but that time had not been on her side. 

On the failure of the Malaysian contingent to achieve its 40-gold medal target in Cambodia, Hamidin said the focus must be on the National Sports Council (NSC) to improve the performances of national athletes.

"She (Yeoh) has been working tirelessly until today. We cannot simply blame her because it has only been six months since she was appointed as the minister. Almost every day, she met presidents of national sports associations," he told reporters on the sidelines of an event in Kuala Lumpur yesterday.

"Here, the NSC must take responsibility because they are the ones who are collaborating with the associations for the preparation of athletes. We will look at the weaknesses that need to be rectified before the 2025 SEA Games and the 2027 SEA Games because NSC is responsible for handling the funding," he said.

The Malaysian contingent returned home from Cambodia with 34 gold, 45 silver and 97 bronze medals after finishing in seventh position overall, lagging behind Cambodia, the Philippines, and Singapore.

The achievement was regarded as the worst in the history of the Malaysian contingent’s participation in the SEA Games, after the 31-gold medal achievement during the 1995 Chiangmai SEA Games hosted by Thailand.

Last year, the Malaysian contingent collected 39 gold medals to finish in sixth position during the 2021 Vietnam SEA Games which was held last year due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

Following the debacle, a number of parties began urging Yeoh to apologise for the failure in Cambodia while some questioned the Segambut MP's statement that the poor performance might have been due to the unstable political conditions.