KUALA LUMPUR, April 3 — The national football team will revert to its previous nickname of “Harimau Malaya” today, just over a year since a rebranding to the more inclusive “Harimau Malaysia” in February last year.
The Football Association of Malaysia (FAM) said today the name change was in line with requests from fans, and came as a decree from Tunku Ismail Ibrahim after the Johor crown prince took over as president late last month.
“The national team will reuse the Harimau Malaya name in accordance with its original name since its formation,” FAM secretary-general Datuk Hamidin Mohd Amin said in a statement.
“It is also in line with the request of many fans to reuse the name based on various historic moments created by the national team during its glory days.”
Hamidin also said that the official Harimau Malaysia website will immediately be shut down to be replaced by FAM’s official website.
“May the reuse of the Harimau Malaya name shine a new light on Malaysian football development in the long run,” he added.
Tunku Ismail won the top post uncontested on March 25 after Umno information chief Tan Sri Annuar Musa pulled out.
In February 2016, then FAM president Tengku Abdullah Ahmad Shah announced the new name, explaining that “Harimau Malaya” was no longer suitable since it was not used widely in the country after the formation of Malaysia in 1963.
FAM vice-president Datuk Sudarsono Osman also said the decision to change the name of the national squad was in appreciation of the contribution of the people of Sabah and Sarawak.
In 2015, Youth and Sports Minister Khairy Jamaluddin had called for the national squad to be known as “Harimau Malaysia” to reflect the contribution of Sabah and Sarawak players and supporters.
FAM also launched a Harimau Malaysia logo design contest, offering a prize of RM10,000 as well as the opportunity to experience being with the national squad at the AFF Suzuki championship at the end of the year.