Sept 4 a public holiday

Najib declaring the SEA Games closed. With him are Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Dr Ahmad Zahid Hamidi and Rosmah (right)

Najib declaring the SEA Games closed. With him are Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Dr Ahmad Zahid Hamidi and Rosmah (right)

KUALA LUMPUR: Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak has declared Sept 4 a public holiday following Malaysia's outstanding performance at the 29th SEA Games.

The Prime Minister was teasing the crowd, saying it was not easy to declare a public holiday, as the crowd chanted "cuti, cuti" at the National Stadium in Bukit Jalil.

"There are too many public holidays in Malaysia. But... due to the overwhelming support and the tremendous performances by our athletes, therefore, the Government would like to announce Sept 4 as a public holiday," said Najib to roars and applause from the excited crowd.

Earlier, Najib said the Games had brought "not double, but triple joy," adding that Malaysia was not only the host of the bilennial Games, but it "turns 60 as a nation."

He said Malaysia's medal tally was very impressive, making it the most successful Games for the nation.

He congratulated the athletes, Youth and Sports Minister Khairy Jamaluddin and Olympic Council of Malaysia (OCM) president Tunku Imran Tuanku Jaafar for organising the Games.

After making the declaration, Najib chanted "Merdeka" (Independence) seven times, with the crowd repeating after him.

Earlier, Najib had declared the Games closed.

"I call upon the youths of the Southeast Asian countries to assemble two years from now at the Philippines to celebrate the 30th SEA Games.

“May they display cheerfulness and concord so that the sports torch may be carried on with even greater eagerness, courage and honour for the good of humanity throughout the ages," a beaming Najib said.

The closing ceremony, broadcast live nationwide and beyond, was also attended by Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Dr Ahmad Zahid Hamidi and Najib's wife Datin Seri Rosmah Mansor.

Khairy, who chaired the 29th SEA Games Organising Committee, also received a special award from the International Olympic Committee (IOC) for a successful Games.

KL2017 was the sixth SEA Games hosted by Malaysia after 1965, 1971, 1977, 1989 and 2001.

The contributions of the thousands of KL2017 volunteers were also acknowledged at the closing ceremony.

Malaysia also handed over the SEA Games hosting duties to the Philippines which was marked by the handing over of the SEAGF flag to Alan Peter Cayetano, chairman of the 2019 SEA Games Organising Committee.

The extinguishing of the KL2017 flame provided a poignant moment for the over 7,000 athletes and officials involved in 404 events across 38 sports featured in the KL2017 which carried the theme 'Rising Together'.  Tonight's proceedings were enlivened by songs, dances and cultural performances. - Bernama


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