SEA GAMES: PM Declares Sept 4 Public Holiday For Surpassing Medal Target

Najib declares Monday, September 4, a public holiday. -Photo courtesy of NST online

KUALA LUMPUR: Najib Razak on Thursday morning (Aug 31) declared the coming Monday a public holiday, after Malaysian athletes pulled off the country’s best-ever showing at the SEA Games.

Speaking at the closing ceremony for the 29th SEA Games in Kuala Lumpur, Najib said: “Now the moment you’ve all been waiting for – it’s not easy to award holidays – I officially declare a public holiday on Sep 4 for Malaysia.”

This gives Malaysia a five-day long weekend with Thursday being the country’s national day and Friday, Hari Raya.

The host country wrapped the 2017 SEA Games with a record haul of 145 gold, 92 silver and 86 bronze to top the medal table.

When closing the Games, Najib also said that the success had complemented the happiness of the country as KL2017 hosts and the success was further enhanced with the National Day celebration on Thursday..

“This is actually not a double joy but it’s a triple joy…from the multiple victories. (A total) 145 gold medals from 404 events in competition…is 35.9 per cent of all gold medals (won by Malaysia) to make the 29th SEA Games the most successful for Malaysia,”he said.

The Prime Minister said what was even more impressive was that 30 of the 145 gold medalists were from the young generation who are still in school.

Volunteers perform during the KL SEA Games closing ceremony on Wednesday. – Photo courtesy The Star

Meanwhile, it will be a bumper payout amounting to RM3 million will go to gold medallists at the Games.

Under the National Sports Incentive Scheme (Shakam), athletes will be rewarded RM20,000 for their first gold at the Games followed by RM10,000 for subsequent gold medals.

According to the National Sports Council (NSC) website, those in team sports with less than five players will also receive RM20,000 for gold, while those with more than five will receive RM5,000 per person.

However, silver and bronze medal winners will not receive any rewards.

National athletes who broke SEA Games records will receive RM1,000. Malaysian athletes broke a total of 18 records at the Games this year.