Youth and Sports Minister Syed Saddiq Syed Abdul Rahman said the salary given to Mokhtar Dahari Academy (AMD) director Lim Teong Kim, amounting to RM175,000 a month with tax exemption, should be re-evaluated.
He said Teong Kim, the head of the national under 16 years (U-16) squad, should be held responsible for the failure of his squad to advance to the U-17 World Cup in Peru next year.
The U-16 squad formed under the National Football Development Program (NFDP) failed to get past the Group A competition when they lost 2-0 to Japan at the Asian Football Confederation (AFC) U-16 Championship at the National Stadium in Bukit Jalil today.
“I was informed that his salary package every month reaches RM175,000 which is fully funded by MSN (National Sports Council)…his contract and those of the top management of NFDP should also be reviewed,” he told a press conference yesterday.
According to him, Teong Kim should be responsible for the defeat as he himself had set the 2019 U-17 World Cup as a target.
Syed Saddiq also explained that RM80 million had been spent on NFDP programmes since 2014, not including funds for constructing the AMD in Gambang, Pahang.
He explained that the NFDP would not be stopped but needed restructuring which would be discussed in the Special Committee between KBS, MSN, FAM (Football Association of Malaysia), NFDP and stakeholders on Oct 15.
“We cannot stop the NFDP programme, this is a good programme. It’s a systematic football-based grassroots programme but it needs restructuring. After tens of millions of dollars are spent, we are still here. It is clear that there should be restructuring and we cannot say we are in a safe or comfortable position,” he explained.
Syed Saddiq added that in the early stages of the NFDP, the programme was promised an allocation of RM20 million each year.
But in the first year alone NFDP only received RM10 million (in 2014), then RM7 million (2015), RM3.5 million (2016) and RM3.5 million (2017).
“I cannot blame everything on the NFDP because of financial constraint, but I am intrigued despite the financial constraint, it still pays RM175,000 every month (Teong Kim’s salary),” he said.
Syed Saddiq also announced that NFDP’s CEO Safirul Azli Abu Bakar had resigned following the failure of the national squad to advance to the 2019 U-17 World Cup.
Following the failure of the B-16 squad to the U-17 World Cup, FAM had taken drastic action of ending Teong Kim’s service immediately.
Teong Kim was appointed as Project Director of NFDP in 2013 and subsequently assumed office as director of AMD in 2016.