ING PULLOUT?

TICKING TIME BOMB
ING Insurance in negotiations to end ties with BAM

HARESH DEOL

KUALA LUMPUR: Could this be the end of an otherwise perfect partnership?

The two month old ‘marriage’ between ING Insurance and the BA of Malaysia (BAM) are on the rocks as Mailsport learnt there are attempts to sever all ties between both parties.

A company insider confirmed that there are on-going talks involving the insurance giants and the national body supposedly due to the series of articles in the local dailies which have ‘placed the company in a bad limelight’.

“The company came in with good intentions but the politics spoiled everything. Now there are serious negotiations to end all ties, if possible,” said the source.

“BAM may want to get out of this to be politically correct and to silence its critics.”

“Even if ING does pull out at this juncture, there is no loss involved. In fact the company has gained in branding and marketing after (Lee) Chong Wei won the All-England title,” an industry observer added.

The supposed pull out could prove costly for BAM. The sponsorship is estimated to value more than RM2 million.

BAM general secretary Ganga Rao, who is currently in Australia, didn’t refute the claims but preferred to keep mum over the matter.

“I can’t say much for now. I’m sorry,” Ganga said.

The leading international insurance company signed a one year contract with BAM and this was made known during a Press conference on Feb 23. Present to announce the venture was Sports Minister Datuk Ahmad Shabery Cheek.

Insiders claim the contract was more than just monetary sponsorship and insurance coverage for the back up shuttlers and players from the Bukit Jalil Sports School. There are also plans to get ING Insurance to play ‘an active role’ during the Thomas Cup in May and other related activities.

The company is to compliment Proton and Yonex’s involvement in the scene.

There were also plans of converting the alliance into a long term partnership.

However, things started to go downhill after accusations were leveled at Ganga for obtaining the sponsorship without the ‘blessings of BAM’.

This led to speculation that Ganga was suspended by BAM. This was, however, refuted by BAM president Datuk Nadzmi Salleh.