KUALA LUMPUR – January 17, 2019: The National Sports Council (MSN) has come to the defence of Youths and Sports Minister Syed Saddiq Syed Abdul Rahman following a scathing Instagram post yesterday by national discus thrower Muhammad Irfan Shamshuddin,
Irfan had criticised Syed Saddiq over the decision not to renew his coach’s contract and rejection of his overseas training plan.
In its statement today MSN claimed that the coach’s contract was not renewed after a performance evaluation and also on the athlete’s request.
It also explained that Irfan’s training overseas was not approved due to weather conditions and other factors such as lack of documentation and no official response from the two host countries.
MSN director Datuk Ahmad Shapawi Ismail also argued that Irfan should not have used social media to vent his frustration.
“I would like to remind national athletes to not take advantage of our soft approach to ‘protect’ and give them the best treatment even when they fail in their responsibility sometimes,” said Shapawi.
Syed Saddiq and the ministry have been receiving a lot of flak after Irfan took his frustration online.
His post has garnered 4,237 likes at Instagram and more than 1,000 retweets at Twitter. Others have also started to share his post at other social media platforms.
Syafiee Zabri commented at Instagram that if Syed Saddiq cannot do his job, he might as well resign.
“Don’t prioritise E-sports so much that budget for athletes is cut and their wellbeing compromised,” said Syafiee.
Echoing his opinion, Anwar Hadi also said that if Syed Saddiq chooses to trivialise this matter, voters in the next general election may not be so kind to him.
Another Twitter user Nabil Halimi questioned Syed Saddiq’s vision and hopes that his #Youthpower slogan is not just about being a populist.
This is what Irfan said at Instagram:
“First, you terminate the Podium (programme), then my coach’s contract got terminated after I broke the national record 13 times, 3 times gold medallist in SEA games and Silver medallist in Asian Championship which I’ve obtained together with my coach of 6 years.
“Even when my allowance is slashed by half, I’m alright with that. But now I’m without a coach and my plan to train overseas is rejected?
“Explain to me, is this what you mean by #youthpower YB?” questioned Irfan.