KUALA LUMPUR: Malaysia Dodgeball Federation (MDF) president Datuk Mas Ermieyati Samsuddin has rubbished allegations hurled at her by Malaysian Association of Dodgeball (MAD) head t Datuk Samson Maman.
Ermieyati said that Samson had intentionally attempted to tarnish her reputation as well as that of former Sports Minister Khairy Jamaluddin and also damage MDF's relationship with current Sports Minister Syed Saddiq Syed Abdul Rahman.
Samson, in an article published in New Straits Times today, had claimed that two former ministers, without naming them, had caused the sport to be divided by the setting up of MDF in 2016. MAD were officially setup in 2009, though they were already active in 2008.
"I do not want to make things worse but Samson's wild accusations give me no choice but to put things straight. His claims are confusing and have bad intent, he should not be politicising sport with his own agenda," said Ermieyati, who is former deputy tourism and culture minister.
"MDF was setup by Nozieka Faisal, Lee Chee Cai, Muhammad Heidy Mohd Yusuf and Vernon David Apostol in October 2015.
"I only joined in December that year and the Sports Commissioner’s Office had officially accepted MDF's registration on Jan 4, 2016. The former sports minister was not involved in the setup of MDF.
"MDF's objective is to develop the sport of dodgeball using the World Dodgeball Association (WDA) rules with fabric balls. WDA, at the world level, have better development and programmes. WDA have 64 affiliate countries under them while the World Dodgeball Federation (WDBF) only had eight nations at the time.
"As it is impossible for us to take the sport to a higher level in Malaysia on our own, we (MDF) requested support and guidance from all parties, especially the Sports Ministry at the time (2016), National Sports Council (NSC) and other relevant bodies.
"Khairy, who was Sports Minister then, did not blindly hand out support to MDF just because he has a good relationship with me. We had to present and discuss our working papers with him just like any other sport does.
"Khairy subsequently ordered his officers to check both associations (MDF and MAD), eventually he decided to help MDF. In fact, he had previously in 2015 also given support to MAD's women's team which had been under Nozieka's care at the time."
Ermieyati also questioned the lack of progress the sport has made since it was introduced by MAD in Malaysia and also the credibility of the World Championships they compete in.
"I hope Saddiq will take a more cautious approach…. investigate why MAD under Samson's leadership has not developed well after 10 years," added Ermieyati.
"Have they managed the sport accordingly? Why is dodgeball not in the school system yet despite it being 10 years since MAD was setup?
"MDF are only two years old but we have already managed to introduce it at the school level and is part of the MSS Selangor programme.
"It is not easy to get into the (WDA) World Cup, you have to qualify via competitions in your region. There are four regions — Asia Pacific, Europe, Africa and Americas. We won all three categories in the Asia Pacific region in 2017 and the men's team finished second at the World Cup in New York this year.
"The World Dodgeball Championship which MAD compete in is only an invitational competition."
Ermieyati also ruled out any chance of uniting and urged Samson to focus on developing MAD's brand of dodgeball.
"My advice to Samson is to focus on the development of dodgeball using foam balls while I will focus on the development of the sport using fabric balls in Malaysia. It is completely different at the world level and definitely cannot be combined.
"We just want to focus on taking the sport to a higher level and take care of the players' welfare, we do not have other agendas."