KUALA LUMPUR – Datuk Ismail Sabri Yaakob has directed two MARA entities to suspend their sponsorship of the Kelantan Red Warriors following the Johor crown prince’s exposé that they were coerced into the arrangement.

The rural and regional development minister said he told both University of Kuala Lumpur (UniKL) and Pelaburan MARA to limit any sponsorships to education-related fields.

The minister’s order also came despite MARA chairman Tan Sri Annuar Musa’s denial of Tunku Ismail Sultan Ibrahim’s revelations yesterday.

“For 2017, I have instructed UniKL and Pelaburan MARA that they are not to offer such sponsorships.

“Only sponsorships related to (education) such as UniKL, (these) must be related to education. These, I allow,” he was quoted as saying by the Astro Awani news portal.

Ismail’s ministry oversees the agency that is responsible for encouraging the development of Malay/Bumiputra industry.

Commenting on the Johor prince’s revelation and Annuar’s subsequent denial, Ismail said he did not have the full details, but expected complete reports from both UniKL and Pelaburan MARA.

Yesterday, Tunku Ismail wrote a Facebook post to reveal that UniKL was sponsoring the Kelantan Red Warriors by RM500,000 while Pelaburan MARA was paying RM200,000.

He appended photographs of payment vouchers and invoices to support his demand for the MARA chairman to explain the sponsorships.

Annuar, who was Kelantan FA president until November, rejected the claim that both entities were forced to sponsor the state football team.

He followed this up with a Facebook post saying that UniKL was a private company that made its own decisions.

UniKL is wholly owned by MARA, while Pelaburan MARA is the agency’s investment arm.

The Kelantan FA was previously sponsored by Pamoga Qu Puteh, the cosmetics firm belonging to Datuk Seri Hasmiza Othman or better known as “Datuk Vida”, but the company opted to end the deal early.

KAFA has been experiencing financial difficulties and Annuar said in October that he had to personally infuse the team with RM420,000 in order for it to pay its players.

– Malay Mail