2-year ban on Zii Jia is vindictive, says Wong Chen
By FMT Reporters (23 January 2022) PETALING JAYA: The Badminton Association of Malaysia’s (BAM) two-year ban on national shuttler Lee Zii Jia is “vindictive” and will only see Malaysians losing out, says Subang MP Wong Chen. An avid fan of the sport, Wong suggested that an appropriate ban for Zii Jia should be six months, taking into account how Japanese star Kento Momota was only given a one-year ban as punishment for gambling in 2016. “Subsequently, Kento used the one year off to train harder, and he roared back and became a world champion,” said Wong in a Facebook post.
“A two-year ban (on Zii Jia) is simply vindictive. Most professional athletes have only a 10-year career, so taking two years away is just too much. “Therefore, this punishment can only be interpreted as an attempt to destroy Zii Jia’s budding badminton career. And the real loser will be Malaysian badminton,” added the PKR lawmaker.
Zii Jia, the country’s No. 1 men’s singles player, announced his resignation from BAM earlier this week. In response, BAM said he would be banned from representing the country in international tournaments for two years effective Jan 18.
The 22-year-old from Kedah won the men’s singles title at the All-England Open last year and is currently ranked No. 7 in the world by the Badminton World Federation (BWF). His ban has been criticised by leading figures in the sport, including men’s singles world No. 1 and reigning Olympic champion Viktor Axelsen of Denmark, who described Zii Jia’s predicament using the analogy of a disgruntled worker who left his job but was later banned by the employer from working anywhere else.
Wong said Zii Jia’s case raised fundamental legal issues as well, such as whether all BAM players have written contracts and whether these contracts, if they exist, spell out resignation terms and penalties.
He also wanted to know what were the applicable BAM disciplinary rules in this situation and whether they were enforceable after a player’s resignation.