KUALA LUMPUR: Tengku Tan Sri Mahaleel Tengku Ariff has expressed his disappointment with the criticism levelled at the Badminton Association of Malaysia (BAM) for the past few weeks.
On Monday, the BAM president took a swipe at Hoon Thien How, a men’s doubles shuttler, for saying that he had not received any increment from his RM3,500 monthly salary and was thinking of quitting the national team.
Ng Hui Lin, a women’s doubles player, also lamented on her low RM1,300 monthly income as one of her reasons for leaving the national team.
Tengku Mahaleel said he was surprised by their comments.
“A player is given food and lodging that cost us RM2,000 a month. That is RM24,000 a player per year. On top of that, we pay monthly allowances. The badminton court usage costs us half a million per year.
“Those elite shuttlers in the world’s top 10 ranking also get to earn RM200,000 to RM300,000 each in bonuses and prize money (Except for world No. 2 Lee Chong Wei, none of the other BAM players are ranked in the world’s top 20). The BAM do not take a single sen. Then, there are the match bonuses given by the BAM,” he said.
Tengku Mahaleel also revealed that it cost the BAM RM50,000 to send a player to compete in 8-12 tournaments a season.
“The players also get private sponsorships. When a player says he did not earn enough money, is that fair to BAM?” he asked.
On Hui Lin’s decision to leave in a huff, Tengku Mahaleel said: “For us, the interest of Malaysia comes first. Players cannot ask with whom they want to partner. It shows they do not respect the coaches or the system. We respect her decision to leave.”
On the concerns shown by the national coaches over their contract issues, Tengku Mahaleel said their reaction was expected.
“Today, we told all the coaches that their contracts have been extended until March. They will be given another three months to look for other options if their services are no longer needed.
“Morten Frost Hansen (the technical director) will be here in March and he will be given the freedom to make changes.
“We have done a very comprehensive evaluation of the coaches based on their performances last month and that report will be given to Morten. Those who delivered have no reason to worry. We will then backdate the salary increments and bonuses,” said Tengku Mahaleel.
All the coaches turned up for the meeting with Tengku Mahaleel except for national singles coach Rashid Sidek, who was on sick leave.
Tengku Mahaleel also said that independent players would be considered for the Singapore SEA Games in June.
“We will invite them to take part in our fitness test and consider them for SEA Games selection,” he said.
In another development, Tengku Mahaleel said China coach He Guo Quan had identified five youngsters with the potential to become world champion.
“We will reveal the names later,” said Tengku Mahaleel.
by Rajes Paul - The Star