PETALING JAYA (THE STAR/ASIA NEWS NETWORK) - In an impassioned speech at Dewan Merdeka in the Putra World Trade Centre here on Tuesday (Aug 30), Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak highlighted Malaysia's many achievements and sustained growth as keystones of the nation's progress.
He said that achievements in a global level demonstrate the success of Merdeka as the country moves towards 60 years of independence.
Najib began his speech addressing the nation on what independence meant and asked Malaysians - regardless of race - to remember our history and the people who led the struggle for independence.
Najib hailed Malaysian heroes such as the nation's top badminton player Lee Chong Wei and cartoonist Datuk Mohd Nor Khalid, popularly known as Lat, who provide "moments of unity" through their individual excellence.
Najib lauded the achievements of the Olympic athletes at the recently concluded 2016 Rio Olympics.
He paid tribute to Azizulhasni Awang, Datuk Lee Chong Wei, Goh V Shem, Tan Wee Kiong, Chan Peng Soon and Goh Liu Ying.
Najib also touched on the growth of public transport networks, rural development and sustained economic competitiveness in his speech and said rural development would continue to be a priority for the Government.
He said tireless efforts by the Government had resulted in the nation's excellent standing in the international community.
He gave the example of the Global Competitiveness Report by the World Economic Forum, which ranked Malaysia in 18th place in 2015; the Financial Market Development by the World Economic Forum Global Competitiveness Ranking 2015-2016 which placed Malaysia in ninth position - the only emerging market country that achieved a ranking.