KUALA LUMPUR, Oct 25 — Youth and Sports Minister Syed Saddiq Abdul Rahman today sought once again to downplay his meeting with Cleo International and Orange E-sports amid allegations of bias and power abuse.
In a Twitter post, Syed Saddiq stressed that “integrity is key” and that no contracts were discussed and no grants were handed out during the meeting which took place earlier this week and has since taken social media by storm.
“We have not chosen anyone as our strategic partner as alleged.
“It was a group meeting together with ORANGE eSports,” the minister said.
I have said this before & i’ll say it again.
1)No contracts were discussed nor were there any handing out of grants. SOP must be followed. Integrity is key!
2)We have not chosen anyone as our strategic partner as alleged.
3)It was a group meeting together with ORANGE eSports https://t.co/XB3dJEJbz4
— Syed Saddiq (@SyedSaddiq) October 25, 2019
But Syed Saddiq’s response did not address the main question at the centre of the allegations: why was Cleo’s owner Nur Fathiah Syazwana Shaharuddin part of the group meeting?
Checks by Malay Mail have found that Cleo had been registered as a transportation and logistics firm and is an entity that is barely a week old, further fueling questions as to the company’s legitimacy as an eSports specialist.
It was also revealed that Nur Fathiah had just joined Parti Pribumi Bersatu Malaysia (PPBM)’s Segambut branch as a member earlier this week.
The Esports Kuala Lumpur Association (ESKL) had alleged that they were stopped by the minister’s special officer from presenting its eSports development plan, while Cleo International and Orange E-sports were granted an audience with Syed Saddiq.
Nur Fathiah currently goes by the moniker “Cleopatra” on her Instagram account, and was referred to as such by Orange E-sports in its statement to Malay Mail last Tuesday.
She is one of Cleo International’s two directors. The other is one Mohamad Shahid A. Samad, 42, who shares the same residential address as her.
Nur Fathia received brickbats from some members of the public after a video of the meeting went viral on social media; there were (now-debunked) claims that she is Syed Saddiq’s personal assistant, a transwoman, and that she received a major contract from the ministry.
Orange’s parent company Esports Business Network Sdn Bhd told Malay Mail it was invited to the meeting by Cleo International to introduce a youth initiative to the Youth and Sports Ministry.
It further explained that its role in the meeting was solely to discuss the eSports planning and execution part of the programme, and it holds no further role in the project aside from being the service provider of the eSports pillar.