Youth and Sports Minister Syed Saddiq Syed Abdul Rahman has defended the government’s move to suspend Automobile Association of Malaysia (AAM) from being the country’s authority on motorsports.
However, he declined to comment on the appointment of Mokhzani Mahathir to lead the Motorsports Association of Malaysia (MAM), the body set to take over AAM’s role.
Mokhzani is the second son of Prime Minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad.
Syed Saddiq also skirted a question on whether he had previously “lobbied” for an international motorcycle racing body to recognise MAM, as alleged by The Malaysian Insight.
“AAM has been suspended by the sports commissioner for consistently breaching the provisions of the Sports Development Act 1997. Many warnings have been given out before.
“It is important for the international regulatory bodies to be aware of this and take whatever action as necessary. We do not dictate what they should or should not do.
“MAM has always been registered with the Sports Commissioner under the Sports Development Act 1997 to carry out national motorsports events.
“This was effected many years ago, even before when I was appointed as the minister,” read the minister’s full statement to Malaysiakini.
He did not address questions on whether Mokhzani’s appointment as MAM president would lead to concerns of nepotism.
The Malaysian Insight previously claimed that Syed Saddiq had sent a letter to the Switzerland-based International Motorcycling Federation in Sept last year, endorsing MAM as Malaysia’s motorsports authority.
“The (Youth and Sports) ministry is responsible for the development of all sports in Malaysia, including motorsports. This letter is to certify that the ministry affirms and recognises MAM as the governing body of the Federation of Motorcycliste Nationale in Malaysia,” the letter allegedly read.
According to the Sports Commissioner’s Office, it decided to cancel AAM’s status as a sports body in late 2018 after the latter “broke the rules” by not submitting its year-end report and not amending its constitution.
However, the office only confirmed the decision to the press earlier this month.
On Thursday this week, Mokhzani was revealed as MAM’s new president.
This signalled the multi-millionaire's return to the motorsports industry since 2016, when he resigned from his long-time post as Sepang International Circuit chairperson, a few months after Mahathir formed Bersatu and intensified his criticisms against then-premier Najib Abdul Razak.