Reaction in Malaysia to QPR takeover

Malaysian reaction to local tycoon Tony Fernandes's purchase of newly-promoted Premier League club Queens Park Rangers (QPR) ranged from patriotic support to indifference, to jibes on fan forums.

"I don't know how this will affect me as an Arsenal fan, but as a Malaysian it makes me very proud to see a fellow Malaysian owning a Premier League club," said Hasminderaputra Abu Bakar, a spokesperson for the official Arsenal Malaysia supporters' club.



Fernandes, the owner of budget airline Air Asia and the Team Lotus Formula One outfit, announced on Thursday that he had bought 66 percent of London-based QPR. He is the second Malaysian to buy into a football club in Britain.



Vincent Tan, a Malaysian billionaire with interests in retail, gaming and tourism, owns the single biggest stake in Cardiff City, who play in the second tier.



"They almost made it to the Premier League this year, so maybe next year they will be in the Premier League with us, and then we will have two Malaysians," said Hasminderaputra. "I am proud of that."



On Fernandes, a self-proclaimed West Ham fan, he said,: "I am very pleased to see that he plans to take a different approach to the other rich owners and that they would like to run QPR like a proper business.



"So hopefully this means they will not be spoiling the transfer market with obscene amounts of money."



Mohan Thamirajah, president of the official Malaysian Chelsea Supporters club, told Reuters that it did not matter who owned a football club as long as the team enjoyed success under the new ownership.



"Basically, if you want to buy into a premiership club, you have to spend big," Mohan said. "Tony is talking about spending tens of millions but I don't know if that's enough to generate success."





Southeast Asia is passionate about football and about the English Premier League in particular. In Malaysia, the interest borders on obsession and club rivalries are almost as fierce as on the terraces of faraway English grounds.



However, Mohan said he did not think having a Malaysian owner would necessarily make the club popular with Malaysians.



"If you look at Vincent Tan and Cardiff, they've hardly caused a ripple here since the purchase. It may be because they are in the first division, so it might be different if they were in the premiership and had more TV time."



On Twitter, some Malaysian fans suggested there might be a conflict of interest as Fernandes's investment vehicle Tune Group sponsors Premier League referee gear.



Others called on Fernandes to take Malaysian's Safee Sali, who plays for Indonesia's Pelita Jaya FC, to QPR.



Fernandes joins a select club of Southeast Asian tycoons who have bought Premier League clubs, including former Thai prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra, who owned Manchester City briefly, and Hong Kong businessman Carson Yeung.



Malaysia got independence from Britain in 1957 and English is widely spoken among its 28 million people. In the capital Kuala Lumpur, bars are packed when satellite television channels show live Premier League games.



In the off-season, Arsenal, Liverpool and Chelsea visited Malaysia for friendlies and played to packed houses of up to 80,000 supporters.



Liverpool and Manchester United have the biggest fan following, and Chelsea and Arsenal are tied for third place, local supporters say.



Premier League Champions Manchester United are seeking to cash in on their support in the region with a $1-billion planned listing in neighbouring Singapore, sources say.



News
The slice of Prince Charles and Princess Diana's wedding cake and the original box from 29 July 1981
newsPiece of Charles and Diana's wedding cake sold at auction in US
News
James Argent from Towie is missing, police say
newsTV star had been reported missing
Arts and Entertainment
Gregg Wallace in Summer's Supermarket Secrets
tv All of this year's 15 contestants have now been named
Arts and Entertainment
Inside the gallery at Frederick Bremer School in Walthamstow
tvSimon Usborne goes behind the scenes to watch the latest series
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Life and Style
A picture taken on January 12, 2011 shows sex shops at the Paris district of Pigalle.
newsThe industry's trade body issued the moratorium on Friday
News
Winchester College Football (universally known as Winkies) is designed to make athletic skill all but irrelevant
Life...arcane public school games explained
Arts and Entertainment
Could we see Iain back in the Bake Off tent next week?
tv Contestant teased Newsnight viewers on potential reappearance
Life and Style
Silvia says of her famous creation: 'I never stopped wearing it. Because I like to wear things when they are off the radar'
fashionThe fashion house celebrated fifteen years of the punchy pouch with a weighty tome
News
i100(and it's got nothing to do with the Great British Bake Off)
News
Angelina Jolie with her father Jon Voight
peopleAsked whether he was upset not to be invited, he responded by saying he was busy with the Emmy Awards
News
Bill Kerr has died aged 92
peopleBill Kerr appeared in Hancock’s Half Hour and later worked alongside Spike Milligan and Peter Sellers
News
news It's not just the world that's a mess at the moment...
Sport
footballPremiership preview: All the talking points ahead of this weekend's matches
News
Keira Knightley poses topless for a special September The Photographer's issue of Interview Magazine, out now
people
Voices
The Ukip leader has consistently refused to be drawn on where he would mount an attempt to secure a parliamentary seat
voicesNigel Farage: Those who predicted we would lose momentum heading into the 2015 election are going to have to think again
Arts and Entertainment
Cara Delevingne made her acting debut in Anna Karenina in 2012
film Cara Delevingne 'in talks' to star in Zoolander sequel
News
i100
Sport
Mario Balotelli pictured in his Liverpool shirt for the first time
football
Life and Style
tech
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Day In a Page

Ukraine crisis: The phoney war is over as Russian troops and armour pour across the border

The phoney war is over

Russian troops and armour pour into Ukraine
Potatoes could be off the menu as crop pests threaten UK

Potatoes could be off the menu as crop pests threaten UK

The world’s entire food system is under attack - and Britain is most at risk, according to a new study
Gangnam smile: why the Chinese are flocking to South Korea to buy a new face

Gangnam smile: why the Chinese are flocking to South Korea to buy a new face

Seoul's plastic surgery industry is booming thanks to the popularity of the K-Pop look
From Mozart to Orson Welles: Creative geniuses who peaked too soon

Creative geniuses who peaked too soon

After the death of Sandy Wilson, 90, who wrote his only hit musical in his twenties, John Walsh wonders what it's like to peak too soon and go on to live a life more ordinary
Caught in the crossfire of a cyber Cold War

Caught in the crossfire of a cyber Cold War

Fears are mounting that Vladimir Putin has instructed hackers to target banks like JP Morgan
Salomé's feminine wiles have inspired writers, painters and musicians for 2,000 years

Salomé: A head for seduction

Salomé's feminine wiles have inspired writers, painters and musicians for 2,000 years. Now audiences can meet the Biblical femme fatale in two new stage and screen projects
From Bram Stoker to Stanley Kubrick, the British Library's latest exhibition celebrates all things Gothic

British Library celebrates all things Gothic

Forthcoming exhibition Terror and Wonder: The Gothic Imagination will be the UK's largest ever celebration of Gothic literature
The Hard Rock Café's owners are embroiled in a bitter legal dispute - but is the restaurant chain worth fighting for?

Is the Hard Rock Café worth fighting for?

The restaurant chain's owners are currently embroiled in a bitter legal dispute
Caribbean cuisine is becoming increasingly popular in the UK ... and there's more to it than jerk chicken at carnival

In search of Caribbean soul food

Caribbean cuisine is becoming increasingly popular in the UK ... and there's more to it than jerk chicken at carnival
11 best face powders

11 best face powders

Sweep away shiny skin with our pick of the best pressed and loose powder bases
England vs Norway: Roy Hodgson's hands tied by exploding top flight

Roy Hodgson's hands tied by exploding top flight

Lack of Englishmen at leading Premier League clubs leaves manager hamstrung
Angel Di Maria and Cristiano Ronaldo: A tale of two Manchester United No 7s

Di Maria and Ronaldo: A tale of two Manchester United No 7s

They both inherited the iconic shirt at Old Trafford, but the £59.7m new boy is joining a club in a very different state
Israel-Gaza conflict: No victory for Israel despite weeks of death and devastation

Robert Fisk: No victory for Israel despite weeks of devastation

Palestinians have won: they are still in Gaza, and Hamas is still there
Mary Beard writes character reference for Twitter troll who called her a 'slut'

Unlikely friends: Mary Beard and the troll who called her a ‘filthy old slut’

The Cambridge University classicist even wrote the student a character reference
America’s new apartheid: Prosperous white districts are choosing to break away from black cities and go it alone

America’s new apartheid

Prosperous white districts are choosing to break away from black cities and go it alone