GELANG PATAH, March 25 — The Tunku Mahkota of Johor, Tunku Ismail Sultan Ibrahim, has stepped down as President of the Football Association of Malaysia (FAM) today.
The 34-year-old Johor Darul Ta’zim club owner (JDT) announced his resignation at a media conference after the Football Malaysia Limited Liability Partnership’s (FMLLP) 2018 annual congress at the Country Garden Forest City Phoenix Hotel here.
“I would like to thank all those who believed in me, the sponsors and all the teams that competed. Here is my resignation letter as FAM president,” said Tunku Ismail.
His resignation letter was handed over to FAM secretary-general Datuk Hamidin Mohd Amin.
Earlier during the media conference, Tunku Ismail said that “the tiger has been unleashed” in reference with the latest development surrounding his resignation.
“I am like a tiger who should not be working for sheep because tigers and sheep cannot be together. Tigers need to work with tigers,” he said, an allusion to his departure from FAM and new role in the newly-created Malaysian Football League (MFL).
Meanwhile, FMLLP chief executive officer Kevin Ramalingam said that Tunku Ismail was officially inaugurated as FMLLP chairman.
“Through this congress, FMLLP will undergo a rebranding process and be known as MFL.
“MFL and FAM are now two unrelated institutions, where Tunku Ismail has been unanimously appointed as the MFL chairman,” he said.
With Tunku Ismail’s official resignation, FAM will have to look at appointing an acting president or hold fresh elections. Current FAM deputy president Datuk Seri Subahan Kamal is expected to helm the national football association for the time being.
The Johor crown prince, popularly known as TMJ, has led FAM for exactly a year after he was appointed on March 25 last year.
On March 15, Tunku Ismail stunned the local football community when he declared on the Johor Southern Tigers Facebook page that he should step down as president after receiving criticism on social media when Malaysia plunged to a new low of 178th in the Fifa rankings.