By: Kheng-Liang Tan
Malaysia’s two Paralympic gold medalists will receive the exact same RM1 million reward as their able-bodied counterparts, said Malaysian Youth and Sports Minister Khairy Jamaluddin.
Yesterday, Mohamad Ridzuan Mohamad Puzi won Malaysia’s first-ever gold medal with his 12.07s time at the 100m T36 event. His compatriot Muhammad Ziyad Zolkefli took the top spot the same day with his 16.84m distance at the the shot put F20 event.
In a Facebook post, Jamaluddin pointed out that para-athletes only received 30% of what able-bodied athletes did when they won medals in the past. He said that this was not a fair policy and pushed for change although it was met with initial resistance.
“They have shown us that yes, they are not ordinary. They are extraordinary.”
Such an attitude can be contrasted with Singapore, where para-athletes winning a Gold medal get $200,000 cash, a fifth of what their able-bodied counterparts get.
SIM undergraduate Ong Liang Wei feels that this is not fair as para-athletes “work twice as hard [so] why should they be entitled to less than a healthy person?”
Since Singapore can spend $39m on NDP, what’s a mere $1m to them?” He added that “most ministers ‘wayang’ coming to this and it’s pretty sick to see that.”