Seek compensation from Zii Jia’s sponsors, don’t bar him from competing, Najib tells BAM

PETALING JAYA: Instead of imposing a two-year ban on national shuttler Lee Zii Jia, the Badminton Association of Malaysia (BAM) could seek compensation from his sponsors as an alternative solution, says Datuk Seri Najib Razak.

The former premier said the recent punishment imposed by BAM against Lee was out of disappointment and may be commercially driven.

“As a solution, maybe BAM can negotiate with Lee and Goh Jin Wei and their sponsors for a reasonable compensation?

“Prior to this, the former world number one player Roslin Hashim paid almost RM68,000 in compensation in 1996.

“He wasn’t even banned from playing for the country at that time,” the former premier said in a Facebook post on Saturday (Jan 22).

Najib said he was given to understand that BAM felt disappointed as they had invested in training Zii Jia since he was 13 years old.

“Yet BAM is not a commercial company that intends to get returns on their investment.

“BAM’s mission is to improve the performance of the nation’s badminton and not for commercial gains,” he said.

BAM decided to punish the nation’s top shuttler, Zii Jia by deciding not to register him for Badminton World Federation (BWF)-sanctioned events for two years.

A similar punishment was meted out to former national No. 1 women’s singles shuttler Jin Wei last October.

The Pekan MP said he agreed with former badminton ace Datuk Lee Chong Wei and Youth and Sports Minister Datuk Seri Ahmad Faizal Azumu that the punishment imposed against Zii Jia was too harsh.

On Friday (Jan 21), Ahmad Faizal said he would meet with BAM and Zii Jia to find a solution to the issue.