Johor-born businessman Norizam “ZamSaham” Tukiman has officially completed his takeover of cash-strapped Liga Premier Malaysia side Kelantan FA last Thursday, which in turn completed the state side’s privatization process. With Kelantan now out of state hands, the Red Warriors are now known as TRW Kelantan FC, completely underneath the control of Norizam.
39-year old Norizam, an investment specialist, told Bernama that he had invested a total of RM6.8 billion to complete his takeover of Kelantan, who were plagued with financial issues as far back as 2016.
“I bought Kelantan’s shares for RM3 million before pumping an additional RM3.8 million to settle the club’s existing debts. I won’t see profits immediately, but in three to five years this investment will bear its fruits,” said Norizam.
Norizam then went on to explain that his decision to buy Kelantan was something that he had planned carefully since a while ago and it was Kelantan’s passionate supporters that sold the club to the UZ Food Berhad executive chairman.
“Kelantan are a very interesting side since they’re the most supported club here in Malaysia, with Kedah FA coming at number two and Johor Darul Ta’zim at number three,” Norizam told Vocket FC, “I believe that Kelantan need around 5 to 10 years of stable management in order to regain their status as one of Malaysia’s biggest clubs.”
Norizam vowed that his first duty as Kelantan’s new owner is to settle the club’s overwhelming amount of debts as well as paying off the fines imposed on the Red Warriors due to their financial woes. He’s also targeting to list Kelantan on the Malaysian stock market to drive the Red Warriors forward towards a brighter future.
Kelantan FA (KAFA) deputy president Datuk Seri Afandi Hamzah told Bernama that Kelantan are now officially off the KAFA’s hands, signifying a new era of privatization for the 2012 treble winners.
“We will manage the development programs, the President Cup and youth teams, and other matters that are not related to Kelantan. With a new owner, we hope that the Kelantan football team will shine again in the Malaysian leagues,” said Afandi.
Privatization has become a hot topic in Malaysian football during recent times, as the Football Association of Malaysia (FAM) are encouraging teams all over Malaysia, be it state teams or corporate-backed teams, to become private entities. Teams are given a deadline until September 30th 2020 to complete the privatization process in order for them to be able to compete in the upcoming 2021 season. The privatization process is done in order to create a more professional environment within Malaysian football, that goes according to the guidelines provided by the Asian Football Confederation (AFC), especially with recent cases of clubs neglecting to pay their players in time. Clubs such as Perlis FA, Kuantan FA, and Marcerra United were booted out of the Malaysian football pyramid in recent years due to financial issues and privatization of Malaysia clubs would prevent more clubs from ending up like the trio.
Prior to Kelantan’s takeover, around five teams have secured privatization status – Johor Darul Ta’zim (Liga Super), Sarawak United (Liga Premier), Petaling Jaya City (Liga Super), Armed Forces FC (Liga M3), and Negeri Sembilan FA (Liga Premier).