Top Malaysian footballer splashed with acid leaves ICU as concern grows over player safety

A Malaysian football star has been moved out of intensive care but will stay in hospital after he was splashed with acid in the latest of a string of attacks on prominent footballers in the Southeast Asian country.

Faisal Halim was attacked at a shopping mall outside the capital Kuala Lumpur on 5 May. The attacks have triggered concerns about the safety of players.

Halim, 25, a star winger for Selangor Football Club, has undergone several skin graft surgeries to treat severe burn injuries to his neck, shoulders, hands and chest. He is out of the ICU now but will continue his recovery in hospital, Shahril Mokhtar, deputy president of the football association in Selangor state, said.

Mr Mokhtar said the footballer is in “stable condition” and his voice is “getting stronger” each passing day.

Police were yet to establish a motive for the assault on Halim and whether the attacks on players in the recent spate of incidents were linked.

Faisal Halim was severely injured in the acid attack (Getty Images)
Faisal Halim was severely injured in the acid attack (Getty Images)

The attack on Halim came three days after another national player, Akhyar Rashid, was attacked with an iron rod by a pair of robbers. He was robbed of money and left injured.

In a similar attack, Safiq Rahim was attacked by a man wielding a hammer who smashed his car’s windscreen. Rahim, 36, who plays as a midfielder for Johor Darul Ta’zim football club, was unharmed.

After the attack, Rahim’s club beefed up security for its players.

Halim’s Selangor Football Club withdrew from their Charity Shield match, Malaysian football’s season opener, against Johor Darul Ta’zim over safety concerns.

The Malaysian football association last week recommended that players hire bodyguards.

“While not all players may have the financial means to hire bodyguards, it is a sensible idea, especially for star players who may attract unwanted attention,” the association’s president Hamidin Mohd Amin was quoted as saying by the New Straits Times.