Hannah Yeoh explains reduced AFF Cup seats for Harimau Malaya-Thailand clash

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Ongoing installation of Jay Chou’s concert stage.

Youth and Sports Minister Hannah Yeoh today said that the 21,000 seats at the Bukit Jalil National Stadium had to remain vacant for the first leg of the Asean Football Federation Cup (AFF) 2022 semi-final clash between Malaysia and Thailand this Saturday due to the installation of an international-scale concert stage.

She said the installation of the stage at the venue which had been booked by the organisers of a tour by famous Taiwanese artist Jay Chou since March 2019, also involved a large crew, and hoped that football fans could accept the fact that it was impossible to change the situation at the stadium.

“I have received an explanation (that) this installation work involves 14 days involving 500 crew members, as well as 185 international crew members entering Malaysia just for the setup. Forty-five heavy machinery, 200 speakers and 800 lights (are also involved). So, it is not like a normal stage tent that we can install (or) open at will.

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“So, both events have a strong fan base. We want to give all the support to Harimau Malaya this Saturday, as well as the concert that has been booked earlier,” she said.

Yesterday, FAM secretary-general Noor Azman Rahman said that 21,000 seats at the national stadium could not be utilised due to the installation of the stage, which was still ongoing.

However, the vacancy of 21,000 seats received criticism from football fans in the country.

Meanwhile, Hannah said the situation would remain the same if Malaysia qualified for the final, with the second leg scheduled to take place on Jan 16.

“The corporation (Perbadanan Stadium Malaysia) has made an effort to plan on how to cater for everyone…so that (final) will continue, but in the current situation, where the areas will be blocked off.

“…because the most suitable location for FAM (Malaysian Football Association) is here (Bukit Jalil National Stadium) because there is public transportation and a large number of seats, and this is an unavoidable situation because the booking was made earlier,” she said.

Jay Chou’s concert is scheduled to take place on Jan 15.