Malaysian footballer, FAISAL HALIM, calls for justice after acid attack (PHOTOs)

Thursday, June 13, 2024 - A Malaysian footballer who was critically injured after being splashed with acid last month is demanding justice.

In his first public appearance since the May 5 attack, a visibly scarred Faisal Halim told a press conference that he would focus on his recovery before attempting a return to football.

"I don't know if I can return to football or not, I just hope people can pray for my return to the soccer arena," he said. "I want to continue living my life normally like other people, like other players."

"I hope the perpetrators can be caught as soon as possible and charged in court," he added.

Faisal, a winger on Malaysia's national team and state club Selangor FC, was attacked at a shopping mall, leaving him with fourth-degree burns on his face, arms, and torso, and affecting his speech and movement.

The 26-year-old spent three weeks in the hospital and had multiple surgeries for the burns to his skin.

"My hope is to return to the pitch in the next one to two months, even though the doctor says it could take up to six months," said a tearful Faisal.

He added: "I am willing to return to training when doctors give me the green light."

The incident was among a series of attacks on Malaysian footballers that month, though police have denied that the cases were related.

Faisal, who goes by the nickname Mickey, declined to speculate on the reasons behind the attack but said the incident had left him and his family traumatised.

"I would rather lose thousands of dollars and stop playing football if I can be safe if my family can be safe ... but the support and prayers from the public have given me the strength to continue," he said.

Faisal did not explain why, but said that "right now I am kept in a secret hideout" with his family, expressing hope that "I can soon be free and no need to hide".

The attacks on Faisal and other footballers prompted some clubs to beef up security.

Two people were arrested after the attack but both were released without any charge. It is unclear what was behind the assault.

Faisal's case was the most serious and high-profile of several attacks against four top-flight Malaysian footballers in May.

Malaysia national team player Akhyar Rashid was injured in a robbery outside his home in the eastern state of Terengganu on May 2 while Safiq Rahim, a former national team captain, had his car windscreen smashed by unknown assailants on May 7.

Faisal Halim's Selangor FC teammate Ahmad Khuzaimi had his house burgled on May 23 where his Yamaha motorbike along with his other possessions were taken. 

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