PETALING JAYA: All Malaysian Paralympic medal winners, past and present, will receive a monthly pension from next month, the National Sports Council (NSC) said.
NSC Director-General Ahmad Shapawi Ismail added that the monthly pension amount given to successful Paralympians would be equal to that promised to medalists in the main Olympic Games.
Under the scheme, gold medalists receive a life-long pension of RM5,000 per month, silver medalists will get RM3,000 per month while bronze winners will receive RM2,000 per month.
Shapawi also said that the Youth and Sports Ministry through its agencies, such as the NSC and National Sports Institute, had for years, ensured that all Olympians and Paralympians who represent Malaysia, have a safety net after their sporting days are over.
“If they are still studying, then we will sponsor their education. For those who have finished studying, we will help them become coaches or provide some other relevant job.
“We have the Malaysian Athlete Career Education (MACE) programme, which was introduced by Youth and Sports Minister Khairy Jamaluddin, providing various initiatives for our athletes to get them prepared for their post-athlete career,” Shapawi said.
He added there was also the Yayasan Kebajikan Atlet Malaysia (Yakeb), a foundation that looks after the welfare of former Olympians and Paralympians.
“All this while, the government has been giving out scholarships to athletes through the Higher Education and Youth and Sports ministries.
“However, it is always up to them whether they want to take up these initiatives because they may have their own plans or choices. However, we will always be there for them.”
The plight of past Paralympic Games medalists was highlighted on social media among Malaysians after the gold medal feats and ensuing rewards and pension announced for Mohamad Rizwan Mohamad Puzi (who won the Men’s 100m T36 category in athletics), Muhammad Ziyad Zolkefli (Men’s shot put T20/F20, athletics) and Abdul Latif Romly (Men’s Long Jump T20/F20,athletics) at this year’s Games.
The former Paralympic Games medalists from Malaysia are Mariappan Perumal, who won the bronze medal in Seoul 1988 (Men’s 57kg, weightlifting) and Barcelona 1992 (Men’s 60kg); Cheok Kon Fatt (1992, silver, Men’s 52kg, weightlifting);Mohamad Khasseri Othman (1992, bronze, Men’s High Jump B2, athletics); Siow Lee Chan (Beijing 2008, bronze, Women’s 56kg, powerlifting); and Hasihin Sanawi (London 2012, silver, Men’s individual recurve W1/W2, archery)
This year’s gold medalist, Ziyad, had also won the bronze in the Men’s shot put F20, at the last Paralympic Games in London.
According to the NSC conditions for the monthly pensions for both Olympic and Paralympic medalists, there is only one monthly pension payment for the highest medal achieved, and not a cummulative amount if the athlete had won more than one medal in one or more Games.