A new member of the Malaysian cabinet has claimed there is corruption in its sports institutions ©Getty Images

Deputy Youth and Sports Minister for Malaysia, Adam Adli, has said corruption in the nation's sports bodies is holding it back from fulfilling its full potential.

He added that Malaysia has superb athletes, such as badminton star Lee Zii Jia in its ranks, but the structure of organisations needed investigation.

"We have many world-class athletes," said Adli at his first press conference in the position, according to Bernama.

"More than a few had also managed to bring glory to the country at international championships.

"But, if we were to dig further [into how bodies are run], most of the time there is an element of corruption, so we have to deal with this."

Other issues he said were important to tackle were inefficiency and leakages.

"I'm sure media practitioners who cover sports know about this problem very well," Adli added.

"It is actually an internal problem because I believe it's not so much about the performance of the athletes."

Adli said there would be a period of change too to ensure all these problems were addressed correctly.

"We are now in the transition process," Adli remarked.

"The Government's overall policy at the moment is to fix the old and make sure that there is no damage in the future."

Adli was among 27 Deputy Ministers who were officially welcomed into the Government on Saturday (December 10).

OCM President Tan Sri Mohamed Norza Zakaria celebrating with the national badminton team ©Getty Images
OCM President Tan Sri Mohamed Norza Zakaria celebrating with the national badminton team ©Getty Images

However, the Olympic Council of Malaysia (OCM) refuted the comments made by him, asking the deputy to show proof.

"As the umbrella body of 57 national sports associations, the OCM is deeply disappointed with Adam Adli's statement which was not fully justified and not backed by evidence," said OCM President Tan Sri Mohamed Norza Zakaria.

"Rightfully, Adam Adli should engage the stakeholders before coming up with a blanket statement that reflects poor understanding of the existing structure."

Last year the Sports Ministry said the fight against corruption was "under control".

Most notable recent events include badminton players Zulfadli Zulkiffli and Tan Chun Seang being handed 20-year and 15-year bans respectively in 2018 by the Badminton World Federation for match-fixing.

The Football Association of Malaysia also fined 17 of its players for being involved in match-fixing in 2014.