Youth and Sports Minister Khairy Jamaluddin said he was prepared to take “drastic” measures against the Football Association of Malaysia (FAM) after the embarrassing World Cup qualifying defeat to UAE.
Khairy warned he may come down hard if the body “still recycle their earlier excuses,” the New Straits Times quoted him as saying.
Coach Dollah Salleh stepped down on Saturday, two days after presiding over Malaysia’s thrashing in Abu Dhabi which made history as their worst ever defeat.
Speaking on Sunday, Khairy said FAM officials must ask “after this embarrassing defeat if they are still qualified to hold office as they have been given a sufficiently long time but without results”.
He said one option would be a move similar to that invoked by Indonesia’s football body, which suspended the country’s top domestic league in April after a dispute with the sports ministry.
“I can call for a suspension of FAM, just like how Indonesia did to their national body,” Khairy said.
But he called this a “last resort” as it could trigger sanctions from world soccer body FIFA, which has suspended Indonesia from international competition.
A sense of crisis has blown up during Malaysia’s qualifying campaign after they were held 1-1 at home by lowly East Timor and lost 6-0 to Palestine in June.
Three games into the second round, Malaysia, who face heavyweights Saudi Arabia on Tuesday, are bottom of Group A below East Timor with a goal difference of minus 16.
Following Dollah’s resignation on Saturday, the FAM named former Malaysian under-23 boss Ong Kim Swee as interim coach and hinted they may hire a foreigner to lead the team in the future.