Find who initiated the acid attack on Faisal Halim - Tun M

Dr Mahathir condemned the act and called for action against those who use such violence in sports.

13 Jun 2024 08:32pm
Illustrated by Sinar Daily
Illustrated by Sinar Daily

SHAH ALAM - Former Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad urged authorities to investigate the root cause of the recent acid attack on Harimau Malaya winger Faisal Halim.

Speaking on Sinar Daily's Sports Matters podcast, Dr Mahathir condemned the act and called for action against those who use such violence in sports.

"Recently, the case of throwing acid at a football player has never happened before.

“It is unprecedented.

"We need to find out who initiated this and take action against those who commit such acts against sports," he said.

Dr Mahathir stressed the importance of fair play, pointing out that victory in sports should come from one's skills and abilities, not through incapacitating the opposition.

"Sports is about the test of your ability to overcome your physical challenges, not about crime.

"Winning is good, but you must win because of your ability, not by making the opposition weak.

“Winning like that has no meaning," he added.

When questioned if the attack on the Selangor FC winger could be considered a hate crime, Dr Mahathir acknowledged the possibility, citing a disturbing trend where sportsmanship was now overshadowed by a desperation to win at any cost.

"Unfortunately, it's not very common, but lately, this is happening. In the past, sports-people were looked up to.

"People did not want to hurt sportsmen, but because of this anxiety to win through foul means, I think that is meaningless.

"You win because you are really good, not because you paralyse the opposition," he added.

The 26-year-old winger was attacked on May 7 while with his family at a shopping centre in Petaling Jaya.

Faisal suffered fourth-degree burns on several parts of his body and required intensive care and multiple surgeries, including a skin transplant using skin imported from Belgium at a hospital in Shah Alam.

He is currently in the first phase of his recovery before starting sports rehabilitation.

Earlier today, Faisal made his first public appearance since the horrific acid attack during a press conference at the Selangor Football Training Centre, where he shared his struggles and the difficulty of being away from his son during his time in intensive care.

Faisal joined the Red Giants from Terengganu FC last year and had a successful season, scoring 12 goals in 28 appearances across all competitions.

Selangor currently ranks fourth in the Super League table with six points from three games.

To date, the identity of the attackers remains unknown, leading to rampant speculation.

In connection with the acid attack, police initially detained two suspects, who were later released on police bail after questioning.

The authorities have also circulated a photofit of the suspected attacker.

Amidst online speculation, Johor Regent Tunku Ismail Ibrahim has firmly denied allegations that he was behind the attack.

The crown prince, known as Tengku Mahkota Johor (TMJ) and owner of the Johor football club, JDT, clarified that he has no animosity toward Faisal, who played for a rival team.

Tunku Ismail stressed that Faisal is merely a football player and should not be targeted as a criminal.

This incident involving Faisal is part of a troubling series of assaults on footballers.

On May 2, Akhyar Rashid of Terengganu FC was assaulted following a robbery in Kuala Terengganu.

Shortly thereafter, on May 7, Johor Darul Ta’zim's Safiq Rahim had his car's rear windscreen smashed near the club’s training centre in Jalan Seri Gelam, Johor Bahru.