KUALA LUMPUR, Nov 20 — The Olympic Council of Malaysia (OCM) has urged Youth and Sports Minister Hannah Yeoh to intervene and address the crisis it is embroiled in with Sports Commissioner Suhardi Alias.

OCM secretary-general Datuk Mohd Nazifuddin Mohd Najib said the statement issued by Suhardi on November 19 was beyond his scope of jurisdiction, especially when it touched on the performance and achievements of athletes under the auspices of national sports associations (NSAs).

“Suhardi not only refused to apologise for equating the OCM with the Israeli regime but also touched on the achievements and performance of athletes under our auspices.

“... the jurisdiction of the Sports Commissioner’s Office (PJS) is limited to legislation related to the registration and cancellation or suspension of sports bodies registered under Act 576,” he said in a statement issued by OCM today.

Mohd Nazifuddin said OCM respects Suhardi as the Sports Commissioner, whose jurisdiction under Act 576 is very wide, but described the act enacted in Parliament as not belonging to individuals who can take arbitrary action, what more against OCM which has 58 national sports associations under its umbrella.

“Suhardi’s defiance shows he is already beating the drums of war with OCM and our affiliates.

“If Suhardi continues to show disrespect, OCM will adhere to the Charter of the International Olympic Committee (IOC), which demands that any National Olympic Committee (NOC) defend its autonomous power and resist any form of pressure, which is not limited to political, legal, religious and economic pressure,” he said.

Earlier, a one-minute and 20-second excerpt of an audio clip had gone viral via WhatsApp, with Suhardi allegedly threatening to deregister OCM.

The recording of the conversation is believed to have been made during a meeting between Suhardi and two groups representing the e-sports leaders relating to the registration and international affiliation of a recognised e-sports body on November 14.

OCM president Tan Sri Mohamad Norza Zakaria then issued a statement demanding Suhardi to clear the air, describing his statement as being uncalled for.

Suhardi had said that he would lodge a police report against individuals who disseminated the audio recording without permission and slandering him.

Meanwhile, Suhardi, who was met by reporters after a sports symposium at the National Sports Council (NSC) here today, said he would hold a meeting soon with OCM to resolve the matter.

“We will defuse the situation, give a moment of calm to all parties and then discuss the matter with OCM, thus easing the pressure that has arisen as a result of this audio clip which should not have gone viral,” he said.

Suhardi also asked all parties to learn from what happened, besides reminding them that spreading the audio clip is subject to regulations under Section 233 of the Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Act 1998. — Bernama