By Eileen Ng
KUALA LUMPUR, MALAYSIA - Olympian Lee Chong Wei will receive a lifetime monthly pension of RM3,000 (S$1,273) for his silver medal effort in Beijing.
Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak said this was in addition to the RM300,000 (S$127,380) reward that Lee would receive as a silver medalist.
"Since he is a Penang boy, we've decided to have a cheque presentation in the state tomorrow night ," he said after a 10-minute meeting with the badminton star in his office at Parliament House yesterday.
The meeting was attended by Youth and Sports Minister Datuk Ismail Sabri Yaakob as well as Badminton Association of Malaysia coaches and players. The delegation also met Prime Minister Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi and other parliamentarians.
"Now you can get married," Najib teased Lee. The player and fellow badminton star Wong Mew Choo are an item.
Najib said Lee could try again four years later at the London Olympics for gold.
During the player's meeting with Abdullah, Ismail said the prime minister was happy with Lee's performance.
"Although he failed to win the gold medal, he managed to get a silver after 12 years. This represents a big success to the nation."
Ismail also said Abdullah advised Lee to work harder, especially with the World Championships scheduled to be held next year.
Lee said he would use the RM300,000 to buy a house and invite his parents to stay with him.
He said being invited to Parliament was exciting.
"I was sad when I lost (to China's Lin Dan in the final) but when I returned to Malaysia, the reception I've received so far makes me feel as though I won the gold medal."
Lee promised to work hard for the World Championships to make up for his loss at the Olympics.
Unity, Culture, Arts and Heritage Minister Datuk Seri Mohd Shafie Apdal said Lee's achievement demonstrated the strong role of sports in uniting the people.
He said his ministry would work closely with the Youth and Sports Ministry to inculcate unity through sports.