National Paralympian and female athletes among aspiring esports stars when MAL MY begins next week

MLBB Academy League Malaysia MAL MY.jpg

KUALA LUMPUR, 14 March – Malaysia's next generation of esports stars will begin their ascent next Monday, 18 March, when the Mobile Legends: Bang Bang Academy League Malaysia (MAL MY) begins its inaugural season. Powered by MOONTON Games and IO ESPORTS, and supported by the Ministry of Youth and Sports (KBS) and Esports Integrated (ESI), the newly-launched league offers aspiring young athletes in Malaysia a more accessible and inclusive platform, as well as a clearer framework to enter the world of professional esports. At stake is promotion to the Mobile Legends: Bang Bang Professional League (MPL) Malaysia, the highest tier of Mobile Legends: Bang Bang (MLBB) competition in the nation.

Fikri Rizal Mahruddin, Head of Marketing and Business Development, MOONTON Games, said: "The inaugural season of MAL MY might still be in pre-season, but we're already noting positive developments in the MLBB esports grassroots scene. We're seeing promising young talent enter the professional circuit, and not just from the the Klang Valley area which is home to the MPL Malaysia Arena, but also from states as far away as Sarawak, Penang, and Kelantan. We're also seeing more diversity in our rosters, with more female athletes and persons with disabilities set to pursue their esports aspirations on the competitive MAL MY stage this season. These bode extremely well for the development of national esports as a whole, especially as we look to defend our honour at the M6 World Championship in Malaysia at the end of the year." 

From ASEAN Para Games 

To MAL MY Ahmad Syakirin (aka Syakz) suffered a terrible accident on 4 January, 2022, which led to the loss of his right leg and loss of function in his left hand. However, he did not let that setback stop his esports dreams. After months of recovery and rehabilitation, the Axis Eldians athlete bounced back to win a silver medal for Malaysia at the 12th ASEAN Para Games last year. He is now looking to prove he can hold his own against Malaysia's brightest on the MAL MY stage. 

Ahmad Syakirin Syakz ASEAN Para Games.jpg

Syakz said: "In the beginning, I didn't believe that I could play with one hand and I wasn't confident in myself. But then I saw there were handicapped MLBB players out there who could play so well, almost seamlessly, I whispered to myself: 'if others can do it, why can't I?' With the support of my friends and family, I began my journey to learn how to play as a 'one-handed' MLBB player. Alhamdulillah, I was chosen to represent Malaysia in the MLBB Para ASEAN 2023 event and achieved second place overall." 

Syakz added: "They say that esports is for everyone, so I want to show that on the MAL MY stage. Hopefully, I am able to inspire others who need a bit of encouragement to chase their dreams, just like I did before."

SEA Games Medallist Leads The Rise of Women Athletes 

UKM X Aero's Sharifah Alia Husna Binti Syed Fakrrurozi (aka Aria) will compete this season as part of a crop of promising female athletes looking to take the league by storm. The 21-year-old student from the Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia (UKM) won a bronze medal representing Malaysia at the 32nd SEA Games MLBB's Women's event in 2023. 

Aria said: "MAL MY can have a significant impact on improving the women's esports scene by providing female gamers with an accessible and inclusive platform to compete, showcase their skills, and be part of a supportive community. We expect to be very competitive and I hope this inspires young female gamers out there to pursue their dreams."

Sharifah Alia Husna Binti Syed Fakrrurozi Aria MLBB.jpg

Leon Lee, Chief Operating Officer, IO Esports, said: "Our collaboration with MOONTON Games reflects our unwavering commitment to fostering local talent and creating a dynamic gaming and esports ecosystem in Malaysia. We firmly believe in providing everyone with a platform to excel, and this venture enables us to connect with a broader audience.” 

Leon added: "In a pioneering move, the league will launch the first-ever chinese language stream for MLBB in Malaysia. This initiative is a significant leap towards inclusivity, ensuring that language is no longer a barrier in the enjoyment of esports. We are filled with anticipation for the positive influence these initiatives will bring to the local gaming scene." 

The Season 1 Regular Season will run from 18 March to 9 May, while the Playoffs will take place from 24 to 26 May (see Appendix B for the full schedule). The league will comprise two separate conferences comprising seven teams each – the Challengers Conference, comprising teams from a combination of third-party grassroots tournaments and an Open Qualifiers held in February; and the Affiliated Conference, which features the junior teams from Season 13 of MPL Malaysia. The Regular Season will see all 15 teams play Best-Of-Two (BO2), single round-robin matches, with their Conference rankings based on the number of points obtained. The top four teams from each Conference will advance to the Playoffs, where the eight teams will compete for a USD 20,000 prize pool.