Aaron Chia believes Malaysia will not be pushovers as they stack up against Japan, England and New Zealand in Group D of the Thomas Cup taking place next month in Bangkok, Thailand.

Like last year, Malaysia were grouped against Japan and England in the group stage.

They lost 4-1 to Japan and did not play England, who withdrew several days before the event began as three of their four singles shuttlers were down injured.

Japan are once again favourites to top the group, but Chia said he and his team-mates would be ready to upset the form books.

“We have the ability to lift our game against the stronger teams. Even though teams like Indonesia, China and Japan have proven to have strong teams, when they play us it will not be easy.

“We got a medal at the Sudirman Cup last year, and we want to achieve the same at the Thomas Cup. It is our target. We will not put immense pressure on ourselves to get there, but I believe we can do it,” he said.

Chia and partner Soh Wooi Yik would be expected to contribute a point for the team as the first men’s doubles pairing.

The world number eight pair should contend against Yugo Kobayashi-Takuro Hoki against Japan, and Ben Lane-Sean Vendy when Malaysia face England.

Malaysia recently developed a decent track record in team competitions.

They did well to reach the semis of the Sudirman Cup before being upstaged by Japan, and reached the last eight of the Thomas Cup before being eliminated by winners Indonesia.

This year, the national team won the Asia Team Championships for the first time when they beat Indonesia 3-0 in the final in February.