TMJ set to be new Malaysia football chief after rival pulls out

The only rival to the Crown Prince of Johor (TMJ) in Saturday’s election has pulled out of the running.

One of the candidates for the presidency of the Football Association of Malaysia (FAM), Annuar Musa has announced his withdrawal from the race with immediate effect meaning Tunku Ismail Sultan Ibrahim, or TMJ, will be the new president.

Annuar’s pullout leaves the Crown Prince of Johor as the only candidate in the election that had been scheduled to take place on Saturday.

Speaking of his decision, Annuar said, “No parties or individuals have urged me to make this decision. This is my own decision. I did not talk to anyone.”

“I do not want this big family of Malaysian football quarreling among themselves,” he told a press conference at the Malaysian parliament.

Annuar, the Information chief of the ruling coalition’s main party, the UMNO, and the former president of Kelantan Football Association (KAFA) is currently under investigation by Malaysia’s anti-corruption commission over allegations he abused his position as chairman of a government body to arrange sponsorship for Kelantan.

About Tunku Ismail Sultan Ibrahim:

The outspoken crown prince of Johor State is a colourful, football-loving character who doesn’t mince his words.

As the owner of Johor Darul Ta’zim, he has completely overhauled the club since taking charge, upgrading the infrastructure while implementing player development programs and modern coaching methods to turn the club into a powerhouse of Malaysian and Southeast Asian football.

He will now hope to do the same to football across Malaysia.

Laying out his plans to a gathering of several hundred people last week, TMJ outlined in no uncertain terms what he thought the problems were.

“The problems facing Malaysian football are many and this includes mismanagement of funds, lack of professionalism and passion, corruption and favouritism,” he said.

He promised to transform the way the national team is managed, and be more open to fans and their opinions.

He outlined his plans for FAM in an 11-point manifesto entitled: Football belongs to the people.

Other key issues included the redistribution of broadcast income, transparency in decision making, the quality of referees and grassroots football programmes.

Many expect a massive overhaul of personnel as he tries to impose himself on Malaysia’s football bureaucracy.

And while his intentions for the country’s football scene appear entirely noble, there are members of the established hierarchy who will have their doubts, especially now their positions appear under threat.

He will also be expected to sever ties with JDT, something that will not prove easy as his passion for the Southern Tigers runs deep.

With such a long list of tasks, whether he’ll be able to fix everything that is wrong in the game in Malaysia and reverse football’s long-term demise is open to debate, but you can be sure he will do his utmost to make things better.

Another thing that is guaranteed is that it is going to be fun to watch him try.