: A grand welcome awaits the national paralympics contingent's homecoming on Sept 22.
Youth and Sports Minister Khairy Jamaluddin told a press conference here that the Cabinet meeting today had agreed to accord the contingent a heroes welcome at the Bunga Raya Complex, KL International Airport upon the arrival of their flight.
He said Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak was scheduled to join well wishers in welcoming the contingent.
The country's hopes of seeing an end to its gold medal drought in the Paralympic Games became a reality at the ongoing Rio Paralympics when the national paralympians won not one but three gold medals.
Mohamad Ridzuan Mohamad Puzi "broke the ice" in the men's 100m T36 (cerebral palsy) category to deliver Malaysia's first ever gold medal in the Paralympic Games on Saturday.
Hours later Muhammad Ziyad Zolkefli won Malaysia's second gold medal in the men's F20 (intellectual disability) shot put event and on Sunday, Abdul Latif Romly bagged the third in the men's T20 (intellectual disability) long jump event.
The victories were all the more sweeter as all the three paralympians set new records. Mohamad Ridzuan set a Games record while Muhammad Ziyad and Abdul Latif world records.
"They (national Paralympics contingent) will then be brought to the Paralympics Excellence Centre in Kampung Pandan in Kuala Lumpur to celebrate their outstanding showing," Khairy said.
He said their success brought new awareness among Malaysians to give greater recognition to the contributions of people with different abilities.
In a related development, Khairy said that he had instructed the National Sports Council (MSN) to pay a monthly pension of RM2,000 from October to former national Paralympian P. Mariappan.
He stressed that although Mariappan no longer represented the country, the ministry had never forgotten his contributions in winning bronze medals in powerlifting at the 1988 and 1992 Paralympic Games in South Korea and Spain.
Khairy said that MSN was also willing to offer Mariappan a coaching job at the Paralympics Excellence Centre and that it was up to him whether to accept it or not.
"All previous Paralympics medal winners will also receive a monthly pension," he added.
Under the MSN's permanent incentives scheme, national Paralympians who win gold medals will receive a monthly pension of RM5,000; silver (RM3,000) while bronze winners get RM2,000.
Earlier, Khairy had witnessed a ceremony to hand over cars to medal winners at the 2016 Rio Oylmpics at the Proton Excellence Centre here.
National badminton star Datuk Lee Chong Wei who won a silver in the men's singles, his third consecutive silver in the Olympics since the Beijing Games in 2008, was rewarded a Proton Perdana 2.4L which was presented by DRB-Hicom group managing director and Proton chairman Datuk Seri Syed Faisal Albar.
Silver winning national men's doubles pair, Goh V Shem/Tan Wee Kiong, mixed doubles pair Chan Peng Soon/Goh Liu Ying and women's diving pair Pandelela Rinong/Cheong Jun Hoong each received a Proton Suprima S 1.6L Turbo Premium.
National track cyclist "Pocket Rocketman" Azizulhasni Awang who won the bronze in the keirin, was rewarded the latest Proton Persona model but was not present at the ceremony.