Malaysian footballer in acid attack 'responding well' to surgery

By AFP   May 9, 2024 | 11:36 pm PT
Malaysian footballer in acid attack 'responding well' to surgery
Faisal Halim celebrates his goal against South Korea in the Asian Cup on Jan. 25, 2024. Photo by FAM
A top Malaysian footballer is "responding well" after undergoing a three-hour skin allograft surgery, a sports official said Friday, following an acid attack that left the player in intensive care and shocked the country.

The attack on Selangor FC and Malaysia winger Faisal Halim last week at a shopping mall outside capital Kuala Lumpur has marred the planned kick-off this weekend of the country's football season after a series of violent incidents involving players.

Faisal was left with fourth-degree burns that impeded his movement and speech, just days after his Malaysia teammate Akhyar Rashid was injured in a robbery outside his home in the eastern state of Terengganu.

But Faisal was "responding well to the procedure" that transplants skin tissue sourced from another human, Shahril Mokhtar, deputy president of the Selangor football association, told AFP.

"Faisal had a three-hour skin allograft surgery in various burnt areas of his body last night," Shahril said after meeting Faisal on Friday morning.

"But the next few days will be critical days because doctors have to monitor the reaction of the reconstructive surgery."

He will remain in an intensive care unit and undergo one more allograft surgery, Shahril said, with a skin patch that has been flown in from Belgium.

"Nonetheless, everything looks good and promising," he added.

Malaysia's domestic football season was slated to begin on Friday with a curtain raiser between Faisal's Selangor and Super League champions Johor Darul Ta'zim (JDT).

But Selangor pulled out of the showpiece, citing "a series of criminal incidents and recent threats".

In a third incident on Tuesday, JDT's former Malaysia skipper Safiq Rahim escaped unharmed after he was threatened with a hammer and his car windscreen was smashed by two assailants.

Nicknamed "Mickey", the 26-year-old Faisal plays on the right wing for both the Selangor FC club and the country.

The motive behind the attack on him is still unknown and two suspects were arrested in connection with the attack.

One has been freed while the other is still being questioned, investigators said.

Police have lifted fingerprints of a suspect from the mall and were analysing them to help the search, local media reported Thursday.

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