Malaysians rally behind players amid attacks

PETALING JAYA: As footballer Faisal Halim recovers from an acid attack that may end his career, Malaysians from all over have rallied behind him.

Social media users and political leaders were praying for the winger’s speedy recovery and a quick return to the field.

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On X, a photo posted by user @MOFASAD showing a hand-written banner bearing the hashtag #StandWithFaisalHalim7 on a pedestrian bridge was reposted over 400 times.

As at press time, the keyword “Faisal Halim” was the top trending term in the country on the platform with over 58,000 posts.

User @mhdafq posted: “Faisal Halim ‘Mickey’, a real fighter. May he be granted recovery soon and will always be under His protection.”

Selangor Mentri Besar Datuk Seri Amirudin Shari said it was time to condemn violence against Faisal and pray for his speedy recovery.

“This heinous crime has no place in Selangor. #StandWith -FaisalHalim #StopTheViolence” Amirudin tweeted.

The campaign, launched by the Selangor Football Association (FAS), called for solidarity with Faisal to end violence in sports.

“There is no room for violence in this beautiful sport we all love. Football is a tool of unity, it is not meant to divide us. Footballers work hard to entertain us week in, week out.

“Faisal Halim is no different. Like any other athlete, sacrificing his blood, sweat and tears to give us joy and have something to celebrate together. Sometimes, as a nation, and in recent memory, his iconic goal against South Korea in the 2023 AFC Asian Cup. Putting smiles on people’s faces,” FAS said in a post on social media.

“Let’s rally behind the boy from the coastal plains of Penang with a big dream – to play football. But this is more than just football. This is about humanity,” it added.

Prime Minister Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim said he prayed for the national football player.

“I pray that Faisal be granted health as soon as possible and be able to return to continue his fight on the football field,” he wrote on Facebook on Tuesday night.

Home Minister Datuk Seri Saifuddin Nasution Ismail urged everyone to continually pray for Faisal’s recovery.

“Let us all pray together so Faisal can quickly recover and return to Harimau Malaya. For Faisal’s family, we pray that you stay strong in enduring this challenge.”

Melaka state executive councillor Datuk Abdul Razak Abdul Rahman also called on Malaysians to pray for the player’s recovery.

“I called on all Malaysians to pray for Faisal Halim’s recovery. Violence has no place in football.”

Rapper-politician Altimet expressed his sympathy for Faisal in a video posted on his Facebook story, accompanied by the hashtag #StandWithFaisalHalim.

“I pray Faisal will fully recover soon. With God’s will, I will see you play (football) again in the nearest time,” said the Lembah Jaya assemblyman, who is currently in Madinah, Saudi Arabia.

Angkatan Belia Islam Malaysia (Abim) vice-president Zairudin Hashim condemned the violence against not only Faisal but also another national player, Akhyar Rashid.

“Abim insists that thoughts that lead to extremism and hooliganism need to be kept away from sports in our country,” he said in a statement.

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