KUALA LUMPUR: Youth and Sports Minister Syed Saddiq Syed Abdul Rahman said Lim Teong Kim’s position as director of the National Football Academy under the National Football Development Programme (NFDP) would not be affected.
Syed Saddiq, who admitted to be also craving for the day Malaysia would qualify for the World Cup, said he felt responsible after the failure of the national squad to qualify for the Under-17 World Cup in Peru next year.
“I did not sack Lim Teong Kim and NFDP will continue.
“Immediately after the match, the FAM (Football Association of Malaysia) had sacked Teong Kim as the national Under-16 squad coach.
“This has nothing to do with NFDP.
“He is still a legitimate director of the National Football Academy under the NFDP,” he said in a statement today.
However, Syed Saddiq added, he could not escape from the reality that NFDP is facing a severe financial situation at this time.
A special fund of RM20 million a year from the previous government was not received as promised, ever since the first year that NFDP was launched.
“As a result of this problem, the MSN (National Sports Council of Malaysia) today has to use its own funds, which were taken from the allocations for other purposes, to bear the expenses of NFDP.”
Syed Saddiq said he was adamant in his stand in re-evaluating the salary package given to Teong Kim, which is almost RM175,000 per month under the NFDP.
“People need to know that, prior to this, 80% of his salary was paid by sponsors.
“However, over the past two years, MSN was making all these payments after the sponsors withdrew. MSN’s responsibility to other sports will also be affected,” he said.
Commenting further, he said the revaluation was not just from the aspect of the management’s salaries but included other aspects of the programme, namely, management, competitions, equipment expenses and the young NFDP athletes.
Syed Saddiq said he would talk to Finance Minister Lim Guan Eng to take into account the need for a suitable allocation to continue to help develop football at the grassroots level.
“At the same time, efforts to bring in more sponsors are being continued.
“We need more involvement from the corporate sector in the development of national sports,” he said.