Lee Zii Jia: Money Not The Reason for Quitting BAM; Ong Ewe Hock: BAM Needs to Perform Self-Assessment

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Lee Zii Jia (L) talks to Malaysian media. Ong Ewe Hock (R) provides helpful suggestions for how BAM should handle conflict between the association vs. independent players. (photo: Astro Arena)
Lee Zii Jia (L) talks to Malaysian media. Ong Ewe Hock (R) provides helpful suggestions for how BAM should handle conflict between the association vs. independent players. (photo: Astro Arena)

Kuala Lumpur: Malaysia’s World No. 7 men’s singles player – Lee Zii Jia stressed that his decision to leave the Badminton Association of Malaysia (BAM) has absolutely nothing to do with money.

However, he refused to comment further about factors that motivated him to quit BAM.

“Many people have said that I’ve received many sponsors from outside, and I leave because of money,” said Lee to Malaysian media on Thursday.

“I don’t want to comment on this. I will meet with the media after BAM makes its official announcement on Friday, and I will let you guys know the real reasons for my resignation from BAM,” added Lee.

“No doubt, BAM has the best facilities, I fully understood that it’s not easy to become an independent player, and it’s not easy to make such a decision,” continued Lee.

“My good friend – Lai Pei Jing (World No. 10 mixed doubles player) has shared her experience in terms of how difficult it is to find sponsors as an independent player.”

“Again, I can’t tell you the real reason for leaving BAM right now, let’s be patient and wait for the announcement from BAM first, that’s all I can say,” concluded Lee.

Meanwhile, Malaysia’s former World No. 2 men’s singles player, Ong Ewe Hock, was supportive and positive about Lee Zii Jia’s departure from BAM.

“If Lee Zii Jia can continue to become better after he turned professional, he should give it a try,” said Ong.

“And also, not that we want to criticize BAM, they have not been treating the players fairly. Let’s look at Goh Jin Wei, after she left BAM, she was not allowed to participate in international tournaments,” added Ong.

“You really have to ask BAM why players are leaving,” said Ong.

“The development of badminton in Malaysia right now is different from last time. I am sure you know that the government has implemented drastic spending cuts for all sports in Malaysia.”

“BAM also cut budget here and there, and I feel that if BAM can’t take care of its players due to insufficient budget, they should release players who are able to find sponsors, and let those players or their badminton club take care of them.”

“This way, it’s going to create a win-win situation for BAM, the players, and also the clubs,” continued Ong.

“In fact, we are going to have a lot more players who can represent Malaysia at international tournaments if we go this route.”

“Most importantly, at the end of the day, these players are going to play for Malaysia. It’s not like they are playing for other countries such as Singapore or Thailand.”

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