Malaysia heroes reap more rewards

Lee Chong Wei of Malaysia reacting during the Rio 2016 Olympic Games badminton men's singles final on Aug 20, 2016.
Lee Chong Wei of Malaysia reacting during the Rio 2016 Olympic Games badminton men's singles final on Aug 20, 2016.ST PHOTO: KEVIN LIM

Government announces additional cash incentives, shuttler Lee offered condo unit

KUALA LUMPUR • The Malaysian government will reward every athlete who won a medal at the recently concluded Rio Olympics an additional RM200,000 (S$67,150).

The announcement was made by Prime Minister Najib Razak at the Komplex Bunga Raya at the Kuala Lumpur International Airport yesterday.

Mr Najib said that both silver and bronze medallists would receive the money in addition to the prize money that the government had promised earlier - RM300,000 for runners-up and RM100,000 for those who finished third.

"Today is a special day for Malaysia. Today, officially, the Malaysian people and the government receive our athletes home," he said.

He said that although the athletes had not managed to get gold this time, they had delivered the best performance for the country at the Olympics - four silvers and a bronze. He added that he is confident that Malaysia would eventually get their first gold at the next Olympics in Tokyo.

"Let's not stop here," he said.

Malaysian low-cost airline AirAsia is also giving out rewards - free flights for life to all South-east Asian athletes who won gold medals "for making us dream and believe".

ON THE HOUSE

I see this as a corporate social responsibility. We want the country to have a bright future.

ENG WEI CHUN , managing director of property developer Orando Holdings on his decision to give Malaysian shuttler Lee Chong Wei a condominium unit.

Its chief executive officer Tony Fernandes announced that while gold medallists would be entitled to free flights for life, silver and bronze medallists would also be rewarded but did not specify what they would receive.

"What an Olympics this was for Asean. AirAsia, which has its roots in Asean, wants to reward those who gave us so much joy," said Fernandes on his Facebook page yesterday.

"Also, they taught and reminded us never to give up on your dreams and never stop believing you can be the best in the world."

Singaporean swimmer Joseph Schooling, Thai weightlifters Sukanya Srisurat and Sopita Tanasan, Indonesian badminton duo Liliyana Natsir and Tontowi Ahmad and Vietnamese shooter Hoang Xuan Vinh are among the South-east Asian Olympic gold medallists.

Malaysian shuttler and silver medallist Lee Chong Wei may not be entitled to the AirAsia lifetime free flights, but he could yet receive a condominium unit.

Property developer Orando Holdings has said that it wants to present the 32-year-old with the RM1.5 million unit in Cheras for his contribution to Malaysian sport.

The 1,100sq ft, three-bedroom unit at the planned Lavile exclusive condominium in Taman Maluri will face the Kuala Lumpur City Centre and come fully furnished.

"At the moment, we don't have a badminton court at the condominium. Maybe we can ask the architect to build at least one court, which we can name after Datuk Lee Chong Wei," said Orando managing director Eng Wei Chun.

Eng said Lee had shown interest in buying the unit before flying to Brazil, adding that he had already made up his mind early on to give the unit to the shuttler.

"I volunteered to do this. I waited until after his game to tell him. I wanted to give him a surprise. He has done so much for the country," said Eng, adding that he hoped this would encourage more young Malaysians to excel in sport.

"I see this as a corporate social responsibility. We want the country to have a bright future and be harmonious. Sports is doing that.

"This is my way of enhancing our sports for a brighter future for Malaysia."

THE STAR/ASIA NEWS NETWORK

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on August 25, 2016, with the headline 'Malaysia heroes reap more rewards'. Print Edition | Subscribe