AFF Suzuki Cup: Malaysian minister demands explanation for fans' treatment

Malaysian football fans cheering during the Asean Football Federation (AFF) Suzuki Cup match between Malaysia and Laos on 28 Nov 2012. Malaysia's Youth and Sports Minister Khairy Jamaluddin has raised questions over the Singapore authorities' al
Malaysian football fans cheering during the Asean Football Federation (AFF) Suzuki Cup match between Malaysia and Laos on 28 Nov 2012. Malaysia's Youth and Sports Minister Khairy Jamaluddin has raised questions over the Singapore authorities' alleged treatment of Malaysian football fans seeking to enter the country for the ongoing Asean Football Federation (AFF) Suzuki Cup. -- PHOTO: ST FILE

Malaysia's Youth and Sports Minister Khairy Jamaluddin has raised questions over the Singapore authorities' alleged treatment of Malaysian football fans seeking to enter the country for the ongoing Asean Football Federation (AFF) Suzuki Cup.

He said he was informed that some Malaysian fans who wanted to watch the match between Malaysia and Myanmar on Sunday were turned away at the Tuas immigration checkpoint. He also said he was told that Myanmar fans far outnumbered the Malaysians at the Jalan Besar Stadium on Sunday.

In a Facebook post on Tuesday afternoon, Mr Khairy said: "Though we respect the procedures of other countries, I am not happy with the way Malaysian football fans were treated. Once there is a reply (from Singapore), I will inform the Malaysian public."

The Football Association of Singapore (FAS) said each visiting country is allocated 1,500 tickets for matches held at the Jalan Besar Stadium and that only 700 tickets from the Malaysian quota were utilised for the match in question.

The FAS also said there were about 1,200 complimentary tickets given to sponsors and tournament organisers.

Spokesman Gerard Wong stressed the special relationship between the two countries.

"After the Football Association of Malaysia returned the unsold tickets to us, we took the extra step of putting the tickets on sale again to cater to Malaysians either working in Singapore, or travelling here to buy tickets."

The minister said he has sent a letter to the Singapore authorities, and wants them to clarify the matter.

In reply, the Immigration & Checkpoints Authority said: "As with most countries, a visitor's entry to Singapore is neither automatic nor a right. The grant of visit passes to visitors is assessed by the Immigration & Checkpoints Authority (ICA) officers at the point of arrival and subjected to prevailing immigration policies, amongst others."

The match between Malaysia and Myanmar ended in a 0-0 draw.