IPOH: An amicable solution between Lee Zii Jia and the Badminton Association of Malaysia (BAM) will be sought, says Datuk Seri Ahmad Faizal Azumu.
The Youth and Sports Minister said that he will personally meet with both BAM and the country's No. 1 shuttler, and added that neither the association nor Lee should be blamed.
"As the middleman, I will meet with both parties to seek an amicable solution," said Ahmad Faizal after flagging off the Queen's Baton Relay held prior to the beginning of the Commonwealth Games at Kampung Manjoi here on Saturday (Jan 22).
Ahmad Faizal had said on Friday (Jan 21) that both BAM and Lee must diligently find a solution to the issue.
BAM has decided to punish Lee for leaving the Association by announcing that they will not register the world No. 7 for any of the Badminton World Federation tournaments for two years.
On this, Ahmad Faizal said that people should not look at the two-year tournament restriction imposed on Lee negatively.
"As mentioned on Friday, we need to prioritise the country's image and ensure it is protected," said Ahmad Faizal.
On criticism from the public over recent matters related to sports and athletes, Faizal said he accepts these as part of a politician's life.
"Whatever it is, the minister is the easy target as the scapegoat. I accept it as part of a politicians' life. However, it is also up to me as the minister to find a win-win solution," said Ahmad Faizal.
He added that what is needed is not mere criticism, but constructive criticism.
On the country's target at the Commonwealth Games to be held in Birmingham, England from July 28 to Aug 8, Ahmad Faizal said they hoped to do better than their outing at Gold Coast, Australia in 2018.
"We won seven gold medals, five silver and 12 bronze. We will try to do better," he said.