SEPANG, Aug 24 — Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak announced today an extra RM200,000 to the five Malaysian Olympic medallists as a reward for their performances at the recently-ended Rio Games.
Najib, who was at the Kuala Lumpur International Airport here to welcome home the Malaysian contingent, said the cash incentive was an additional sum promised earlier.
“Today, I want to announce that we would be adding on another RM200,000 on top of that. Also another RM200,000 for the bronze too,” he told a cheering crowd gathered at Bunga Raya Complex here to welcome home the Olympians.
Five Malaysian athletes scored four silver medals and one bronze in Rio. Previously, the government said it would reward silver medallists with RM300,000 and bronze medallists RM100,000 each.
Najib said the Olympians are very special to Malaysians and it was only fitting that they were welcomed home like “rock stars”.
The prime minister added that he was having palpitations while watching the nerve-wrecking finals for the badminton games.
“I’m thankful my heart is strong. The palpitation was very strong.
“We were that close, I don’t know how to describe it. We were that close but fate was not on our side,” Najib said.
Calling the athletes “heroes”, Najib said he was glad that all the athletes put aside their race or religion to do their best for the country and that the same was shown by the supporters who turned up today.
The Pekan MP added that even though the Malaysian contingent did not manage a gold in Rio, but the showing was good enough to promise more medals in future Olympics, starting with the one at Tokyo, Japan, in 2020.
“Even though we didn’t get the gold, but we have gotten the best performance in our Olympic history.
“With this achievement, I am confident that the next Olympics in Tokyo, we will able to hunt down gold,” Najib stressed.