Malaysia Cup (football)



The Malaysia Cup was established in 1921 as the HMS Malaya Cup, following the contribution of a trophy from the crew of British Royal Navy ship HMS Malaya. The tournament was renamed Malaysia Cup in 1967. For much of its history, the football championship was contested by Malaysian state teams, military teams, as well as foreign invitees Singapore and Brunei. Club teams were allowed entry into the competition from 2000.

Origins
In January 1921, the British Royal Navy battleship HMS Malaya called at Port Swettenham (now Port Klang), Singapore, Melaka, Penang and Port Dickson.1 During its stay, the crew played friendly football and rugby matches against local clubs.2

Three months later, the chief secretary of the Federated Malay States government received a letter from Captain H. T. Buller of the Malaya, offering two trophies to be competed for in football and rugby as tokens of the crew’s gratitude for the reception they received in Malaya. Various club representatives subsequently formed a committee to organise the tournaments, which Buller had suggested to be called the HMS Malaya cups.3

First football tournament
It was decided that the football competition would be organised into northern and southern sections.4 Selangor and the states or settlements north of it were placed in the north zone, while Singapore, Negri Sembilan and Melaka were in the south.5 The first Malaya Cup was held later in 1921.


Selangor defeated Penang 5–1 and Perak 2–1, while Singapore emerged with a 4–0 victory against Negri Sembilan and 2–0 against Melaka. Having topped their respective sections, Selangor and Singapore competed in the first Malaya Cup final on 1 October 1921 at the Selangor Club grounds (now Merdeka Square).6 The turnout of 3,000 spectators at the match was then the largest football crowd in the peninsula.7 Singapore won the match 2–1, and the Singapore players each received a gold badge for the victory.8

Prewar years
The Malaya Cup final was played outside of Kuala Lumpur for the first time in 1925, when Singapore defeated Selangor 2–1 at Singapore’s Anson Road Stadium.9 Singapore also maintained the record of entering every Malaya Cup final before World War II.10

In September 1926, representatives from the football associations of Singapore, Selangor, Perak, Negri Sembilan and Melaka agreed to form the Malayan Football Association. Based in Kuala Lumpur with John Sime of Singapore as its first president, the Malayan Football Association was represented in the Malaya Cup committee, which organised the competition.11 The association saw little activity until 1932, when it was revived and became known as the Football Association of Malaya. The reformed association also took over the organisation of the Malaya Cup from the founding committee.12

Postwar era
The Malaya Cup resumed in 1948, and the postwar era saw the entrance of Pahang, Kelantan, Terengganu and Perlis into the competition.13

In 1957, the final match was played for the first time at the newly constructed Merdeka Stadium in Kuala Lumpur. The majority of the final matches were held there subsequently until the 1990s.14

In line with political developments, the HMS Malaya trophy was retired and replaced with a new trophy known as the Malaysia Cup in 1967.15 The old Malaya Cup now resides at the National Museum in Kuala Lumpur.16

In 1968, Singapore withdrew from the competition. Then-Minister for Social Affairs Othman Wok stated that participation in a tournament meant for Malaysian domestic teams was not befitting of Singapore’s new status as an independent republic.17

Two years later, Singapore rejoined the tournament.18 The “Kallang Roar” began in the 1970s at Singapore’s National Stadium, after the Malaysia Cup home matches were held there from 1974 onwards. The 60,000-capacity stadium was often full during key matches.19 Singapore’s victory against Penang in the 1977 final – its first win in 12 years – is remembered as one of its most memorable.20

The year 1979 saw several new entries for the Malaysia Cup, such as Federal Territory (later renamed Kuala Lumpur), the East Malaysian states of Sabah and Sarawak, as well as the independent sultanate of Brunei.21

1980s onwards
After Singapore’s loss to Selangor in the 1981 final, allegations of match-fixing and the involvement of bookies led to a three-week investigation by the Corrupt Practices Investigation Bureau.22 The probe, however, did not find evidence that Singapore players had accepted bribes.23 In November 1981, the Football Association of Malaysia announced that Singapore would be excluded from the following year’s Malaysia Cup. The expulsion was the result of crowd trouble during the semi-final match between Singapore and Johor in 1981, and the Malaysian state’s threat to withdraw from the competition if Singapore remained in it.24

Singapore returned to the tournament in 1985 and next won the Malaysia Cup in 1994.25 It exited the competition again the following year, after the Football Association of Malaysia announced its intention to raise the levy on gate collections. In addition, many in Singapore had also been calling for the country to set up its own professional league. In February 1995, then Football Association of Singapore President Ibrahim Othman announced Singapore’s withdrawal from the Malaysia Cup, and the Singapore Professional Football League (S.League) was launched in 1996.26

Another reason for Singapore’s withdrawal from the Malaysia Cup in 1995 was the issue of match-fixing.27 The Malaysian police said that Singapore footballers were involved in match-fixing and bribery.28 Following corruption charges against a player and a referee in Singapore in August 1994, the Malaysian police conducted match-fixing investigations into the Malaysian teams. Eventually, more than 80 players faced punishment ranging from ban on playing for varying lengths of time to internal exile.29

In 2000, club teams were allowed into the Malaysia Cup, which had previously been competed for only by state and military teams.30 In 2003, Selangor MPPJ became the first club to win the trophy.31 In July 2011, the Football Association of Singapore announced that a Singapore team would participate in the Malaysia Cup as well as Super League from 2012.32

In 2015, the Football Malaysia Limited Liability Partnership was set up to privatise the Malaysian football league system. The partnership oversees five entities in Malaysian football, including the Malaysia Cup.33

In November 2015, the Football Association of Malaysia announced that it would not renew the partnership with the Football Association of Singapore, once again marking Singapore’s exit from the Malaysian football scene.34



Author

Alvin Chua



References
1. A Malayan sporting diary. (1932, August 7). The Straits Times, p. 15; Malaya Cup soccer again. (1947, July 22). The Singapore Free Press, p. 7. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
2. Malaya Cup soccer again. (1947, July 22). The Singapore Free Press, p. 7. Retrieved from NewspaperSG; Robert, G. (1991). The Malaysia Cup. Singapore: 2A Project Consultants, p. 1. (Call no.: RSING 796.33464 ROB)
3. The way of the navy. (1921, April 23). The Singapore Free Press and Mercantile Advertiser (1884–1942), p. 12. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
4. A Malayan sporting diary. (1932, August 7). The Straits Times, p. 15; Malaya Cup soccer again. (1947, July 22). The Singapore Free Press, p. 7; Siebel, N. (1961, December 7). FAM’s rise to leading role in AsiaThe Straits Times, p. 18. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
5. A Malayan sporting diary. (1932, August 7). The Straits Times, p. 15; ‘New look’ Cups – but Joint Services out. (1969, January 4). The Straits Times, p. 19. Retrieved NewspaperSG.
6. Malaya Cup final. (1921, October 3). The Straits Times, p. 10; Selangor Club padang to be dug up. (1988, May 12). The Straits Times, p. 13. Retrieved from NewspaperSG; Robert, G. (1991). The Malaysia Cup. Singapore: 2A Project Consultants, pp. 2, 4. (Call no.: RSING 796.33464 ROB); Attractions in Malaysia. (2012). Merdeka Square Kuala Lumpur. Retrieved 2016, December 30 from Attractions in Malaysia website: http://kuala-lumpur.attractionsinmalaysia.com/Merdeka-Square.php
7. Robert, G. (1991). The Malaysia Cup. Singapore: 2A Project Consultants, p. 4. (Call no.: RSING 796.33464 ROB)
8. Malaya Cup final. (1921, October 3). The Straits Times, p. 10.  Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
9. Robert, G. (1991). The Malaysia Cup. Singapore: 2A Project Consultants, p. 7. (Call no.: RSING 796.33464 ROB); A Malayan sporting diary. (1932, August 7). The Straits Times, p. 15. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
10. Siebel, N. (1968, May 17). Break sad but not surprisingThe Straits Times, p. 22; For the record. (1981, June 8). The Business Times, p. 11. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
11. Malayan football. (1926, September 13). The Straits Times, p. 10; Malayan Football Association. (1926, September 22). The Singapore Free Press and Mercantile Advertiser (Weekly), p. 7; Siebel, N. (1961, December 7). FAM’s rise to leading role in AsiaThe Straits Times, p. 18. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
12. Siebel, N. (1961, December 7). FAM’s rise to leading role in AsiaThe Straits Times, p. 18. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
13. Robert, G. (1991). The Malaysia Cup. Singapore: 2A Project Consultants, pp. 2, 15. (Call no.: RSING 796.33464 ROB); Siebel, N. (1968, May 17). Break sad but not surprisingThe Straits Times, p. 22. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
14. Robert, G. (1991). The Malaysia Cup. Singapore: 2A Project Consultants, pp. 25, 181–183. (Call no.: RSING 796.33464 ROB)
15. Siebel, N. (1968, May 17). Break sad but not surprisingThe Straits Times, p. 22. Retrieved from NewspaperSG; Robert, G. (1991). The Malaysia Cup. Singapore: 2A Project Consultants, pp. 2, 56. (Call no.: RSING 796.33464 ROB)
16. Robert, G. (1991). The Malaysia Cup. Singapore: 2A Project Consultants, p. 56. (Call no.: RSING 796.33464 ROB); Yap, S. (1975, March 15). We were the champions! And the cup was ours 21 times… New Nation, p. 10. Retrieved from NewspaperSG; ‘Bento making’ encourages culture of saving money. (2016, April 16). Bernama. Retrieved from Factiva via NLB’s eResources website: http://eresources.nlb.gov.sg/
17. Khoo, P. (1995, February 23). S’pore out of Malaysia CupThe Straits Times, p. 1. Retrieved from NewspaperSG; Robert, G. (1991). The Malaysia Cup. Singapore: 2A Project Consultants, p. 60. (Call no.: RSING 796.33464 ROB)
18. Robert, G. (1991). The Malaysia Cup. Singapore: 2A Project Consultants, p. 67. (Call no.: RSING 796.33464 ROB); Mansoor Rahman. (1970, March 25). M-Cup to start April 17. The Straits Times, p. 29. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
19. The Kallang Roar. (1976, April 19). New Nation, p. 1; When Kallang roared. (2006, August 6). The Straits Times, p. 42. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
20. Robert, G. (1991). The Malaysia Cup. Singapore: 2A Project Consultants, p. 95. (Call no.: RSING 796.33464 ROB); Singapore’s ’77 team the best. (1981, November 13). The Straits Times, p. 37. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
21. Robert, G. (1991). The Malaysia Cup. Singapore: 2A Project Consultants, pp. 2, 109. (Call no.: RSING 796.33464 ROB); Brunei, Sabah and Sarawak in Malaysia Cup. (1978, September 26). The Straits Times, p. 25. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
22. Robert, G. (1991). The Malaysia Cup. Singapore: 2A Project Consultants, p. 118. (Call no.: RSING 796.33464 ROB); Lim, G. (1981, June 6). The betting game… New Nation, p. 24. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
23. Robert, G. (1991). The Malaysia Cup. Singapore: 2A Project Consultants, p. 118. (Call no.: RSING 796.33464 ROB); Footballers cleared by CPIB. (1981, July 25). The Straits Times, p. 1. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
24. Dorai, J. (1981, November 30). S’pore out of 1982 Malaysia CupThe Straits Times, p. 1. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
25. Robert, G. (1991). The Malaysia Cup. Singapore: 2A Project Consultants, p. 139. (Call no.: RSING 796.33464 ROB); Robert, G. (1994, December 18). Lions crowned soccer kings. The Straits Times, p. 1. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
26. Khoo, P. (1995, February 23). S’pore out of Malaysia CupThe Straits Times, p. 1; Lee, M. K. (2011, July 13). Singapore is back in the Malaysia CupThe Straits Times, p. 1. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
27. Khoo, P. (1995, February 23). S’pore out of Malaysia CupThe Straits Times, p. 1. Retrieved NewspaperSG.
28. Match-fixing: KL hints S’pore players involved. (1995, January 13). The Straits Times, p. 2. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
29. Six Malaysian footballers banned for life for matchfixing. (1995, November 16). Agence France-Presse; Samuel, E. (2016, May 9). FAM lift bans on 84 involved in 1994 match-fixing scandal. The Star. Retrieved from Factiva via NLB’s eResources website: http://eresources.nlb.gov.sg/; Six banned for life. (1995, November 16). The Straits Times, p. 54. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
30. Rai, V., & Peters, G. (1999, December 22). Please stay on, Sultan Ahmad. The New Straits Times; Rai, V. (2000, April 14). Don’t mess with the clubs. The New Straits Times. Retrieved from Factiva via NLB’s eResources website: http://eresources.nlb.gov.sg/
31. Chia, H. K. (2004, April 20). Selangor promise 12,000 fans for Cup match. The Straits Times, p. 7. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
32. Lee, M. K. (2011, July 13). Singapore is back in the Malaysia CupThe Straits Times, p. 1. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
33. Football Association of Malaysia. (2015, January 23). FAM inks deal with MP & Silva to formalise FMLLP [Press release]. Retrieved from Football Association of Malaysia website: http://www.fam.org.my/news/press-release-fam-inks-deal-mp-silva-formalise-fmllp; FAM signs MOU with MP & SILVA to privatise M-league by 2016. (2015, January 23). Bernama. Retrieved from Factiva via NLB’s eResources website: http://eresources.nlb.gov.sg/
34. Chia, A. (2015, November 25). Fractious, friendly, feisty: The highs and lows of Singapore-Malaysia football. The Straits Times. Retrieved 2017, July 6 from The Straits Times website: http://www.straitstimes.com/sport/football/fractious-friendly-feisty-the-highs-and-lows-of-singapore-malaysia-football



Further resources
A Malayan sporting diary. (1932, August 7). The Straits Times, p. 15. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.


Malaya Cup soccer again. (1947, July 22). The Singapore Free Press, p. 7. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.

Malaya Football Association and the H. M. S. Malaya Association football competition. (1927, September 10). Malayan Saturday Post, p. 12. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.



The information in this article is valid as at 2015 and correct as far as we are able to ascertain from our sources. It is not intended to be an exhaustive or complete history of the subject. Please contact the Library for further reading materials on the topic.
 

Subject
Recreation>>Sports
Sports, recreation and travel>>Ball games>>Football
Soccer--Malaysia
Malaysia Cup (Soccer)--History
Soccer--Singapore
Sports and games