Sabahan sprinter Felicia Mikat claimed three gold medals at the ASEAN Para Games in Singapore last week, winning the 100m, 200m as well as the 400m event in style.
Since then, she’s received plenty of congratulatory messages and has been at the center of attention on social media, with tributes pouring in from all over the country.
Yesterday though, there was a minor controversy, with several social media posts claiming that Felicia’s arrival in Kota Kinabalu was rather low-key, with only her family present at the airport, to receive her.
But in a statement that was released on Khairy’s Facebook page earlier today, he rebuffed those allegations, claiming that officials from the Sabah government accompanied her throughout the journey.
“Some posts on social media claimed that Felicia was only received by her parents. But I’ve received confirmation from the Youth and Sports minister of Sabah, YB Datuk Tawfiq Titingan, that state officials were present with her, because they accompanied her throughout her time in Singapore, as well the journey back,” Khairy said.
Several comments on social media have also taken a direct swipe at the Youth and Sports ministry, claiming that paralympic athletes in Malaysia rarely receive the support they deserve. Khairy however, completely disagreed.
“Most people don’t know that our para-athletes receive the exact same incentives that are given to our other athletes. Prior to this, they only got 30% of what the other athletes were getting.
“I genuinely hope that more Malaysians would start supporting our para-athletes. Don’t just show interest when certain news stories go viral on social media. I know the posts that came out yesterday had no vicious intent. But it made it seem like we don’t appreciate our para-athletes. That’s completely untrue,” he added.