Norza says his decision to stay on as BAM president is about national service, not fame

KUALA LUMPUR: Tan Sri Norza Zakaria anticipates possible criticism and backlash following his decision to continue as the president of BA of Malaysia (BAM).

However, he emphasised that his commitment lies in national service rather than personal glory.

In a surprising turn of events, Norza announced on Saturday that he will continue as BAM president until the 2024 Paris Olympics, reversing his initial plan to step down this month.

This decision came after receiving encouragement from Youth and Sports Minister Hannah Yeoh.

Addressing the media at the Academy Badminton Malaysia (ABM) in Bukit Kiara, Norza acknowledged the anticipated criticism for his decision.

"We are used to constant criticism from netizens, but it comes with the job. We are all volunteers, offering our services pro bono.

"Occasionally, significant issues arise, leading to criticism from unhappy stakeholders.

"This is part and parcel of the responsibilities that come with the post. I was aware of this when I initially considered stepping down," said Norza, who assumed the position in 2017.

While earlier reports suggested that Investment, Trade, and Industry Minister Tengku Datuk Seri Zafrul Tengku Abdul Aziz would replace Norza at the helm, the latter did not provide specific details about the succession plan.

Norza stressed that his current focus is on preparing the national badminton team for the Olympics.

He said he has no intention to discuss his succession plan until his second term concludes in 2025.

"I communicated with Tengku Zafrul, and he agrees that the leadership handover of BAM should occur at the right time.

"With seven to eight months before the Olympics, our focus should be on that.

"The council also prefers not to set a specific departure date for me. My term extends until 2025, so let's leave it at that," added Norza, who believes Yeoh requested him to stay to ensure the continuity of the Road to Gold (RTG) programme, which he co-chairs with the minister.

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