Players leaving the Badminton Association of Malaysia (BAM) will only make it more difficult to find new talent of the calibre of Datuk Lee Chong Wei, said Youth and Sports Minister Datuk Seri Ahmad Shabery Cheek.

He said the situation (exodus from BAM) put the ministry in a dilemma as to whether to continue funding BAM or invest directly in the players who opted to leave the main badminton body in the country.

“Many people are asking about who will fill the top players shoes. In the latest case yesterday, our number two men’s doubles quit the BAM and this situation is making it difficult for the government to help the sport,” he said when met after a breaking of the fast function at Centre Point here Monday.

He said professional badminton players in the country had yet to reach the stage where they could fully rely on sponsorship and prize money to develop their careers.

“That is why I am very concerned about this issue (players deciding to go their own way). If more talented players are outside the ambit of BAM, the government will find it difficult to help in the development of badminton,” he said.

On Saturday, BAM president Datuk Seri Nadzmi Salleh told the media that Malaysia’s number two men’s doubles pair Mohd Zakry Abdul Latif and Mohd Fairuzizuan Mohd Tazari had given notice to the BAM that they wanted to go independent.

Meanwhile, commenting on suggestions by Chong Wei, the world number one men’s singles player, that more back up players be given overseas exposure like what China was doing, Ahmad Shabery said this entailed a huge cost and that the private sector would have to come in to ensure the success of such a programme.