KUALA LUMPUR, May 15 – The sport is at its lowest ebb and there are no signs of an end to the turmoil that has hit the Sepak Takraw Association of Malaysia (PSM) following the 15-year ban slapped on its president Datuk Seri Ahmad Ismail by the Asian Sepak Takraw Federation (ASTAF).
Several affiliates of PSM have pulled out from the national sepak takraw body and more are expected to follow suit after the Hari Raya holidays.
Kelantan was the first to pull out followed by Johor, Selangor and the latest Kedah.
The main reason given by the affiliates who have pulled out from PSM is that “they have lost faith” in the leadership of Ahmad Ismail, who has been blamed for the current mess. If this continues it will have a serious effect on the game in the country.
Just to recap the scenario, Malaysia suffered an embarrassing whitewash at the ASTAF elections in March with no Malaysian elected to the posts they contested.
It was a real embarrassment for Malaysia as PSM president Datuk Seri Ahmad Ismail was an incumbent deputy president of ASTAF.
The election results did not go down well with Ahmad Ismail, who was hell-bent on removing incumbent ASTAF president Datuk Halim Kader of Singapore from the post. Instead, it was a clean sweep by Halim Kader’s camp.
It was a bitter blow for Malaysia – a country that once reigned supreme in the popular rattan ball sport in the region.
Malaysia was a prime mover of the game as its popularity grew worldwide, especially among Asian countries.
Fed up with the intense politicking in PSM, affiliates of the national sepak takraw body, want to set up a rival body so that Malaysia can regain its status in the popular sport in the region. Kelantan, Johor, Selangor and Kedah have shown the way.
In the ASTAF elections, Halim Kader, who has helmed the Asian body for a decade, fought a three-cornered fight against Ahmad Ismail and Singapore’s Mohd Nasri Haron.
Halim Kader won hands down, securing 30 votes for the 2021-2025 term, while Ahmad Ismail and Mohd Nasri failed to get a single vote.
Ahmad Ismail claimed that the elections were rigged and alleged the elections of the new ASTAF office bearers were null and void.
ASTAF acted fast and called for disciplinary action to be taken against Ahmad Ismail. The ASTAF disciplinary panel found him guilty and slapped Ahmad Ismail with a 15-year ban on May 5 for violating several ASTAF bylaws and articles.
On top of that Ahmad Ismail will have to reimburse USD25,000 to cover the cost of covering the ASTAF disciplinary panel.
On the local front, Ahmad Ismail, a politician from Penang, irked several affiliates of PSM with his “politics” in the sport. His highhanded grip on the national body, was waiting to “explode” anytime soon.
The crisis that has engulfed PSM is not likely to end anytime soon. Ahmad Ismail has also threatened legal action against ASTAF and it is left to be seen what will happen next.