KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia –Najib Tun Razak came to Dataran Merdeka today for the full dress rehearsal of the National Day 2017 celebration and liked what he saw – young people full of enthusiasm to deliver a performance the people will remember for a long time to come.

“You, the new generation, are the catalysts who will take Malaysia to greater heights,” the Prime Minister said as he addressed the estimated 18,000 participants comprising mainly schoolchildren, government servants and uniformed personnel who were preparing for the National Day performance on Thursday.

Najib was accompanied by Communications and Multimedia Minister Dr Salleh Said Keruak and the ministry secretary-general Dr Sharifah Zahrah Syed Ahmad.

The Prime Minister said the new generation must realise how difficult it was for the country to achieve independence and remain independent and to understand the major challenges they would have to face as they marched on to the future.

“When we see such a celebration planned for this year, we can feel that what we have achieved all through the years since independence is nothing short of excellence,” he said.

He said the new generation of today was the generation of the National Transformation (TN50) who would take Malaysia to a higher level in the eyes of the world.

Remember these words. We have to continue this journey until Malaysia reaches the peak of success, he said as he inspired the participants with words of encouragement.

Najib said he was happy with the performance of the participants. Hopefully, this show will be a memorable performance for all Malaysians, he said.

At the rehearsal, Najib shouted out ‘Merdeka’ seven times to recall the historic moment when first prime minister Tunku Abdul Rahman Putra Al-Haj hailed the word as many times in 1957.

The celebration, carrying the theme ‘Negaraku Sehati Sejiwa’ (My Country, One Heart, One Soul), recalls the nostalgic moments of independence in 1957, the declaration of Malaysia Day, the era of development under the leadership of the five prime ministers after Tunku Abdul Rahman, and the country’s success and development up to now.

In KOTA KINABALU, a full dress rehearsal was held for the Sabah-level National Day celebration at Jalan Tun Fuad Stephens.

State Local Government and Housing Minister Hajiji Noor, who is the chairman of the celebration organising committee, said more than 200 contingents participated in the parade.

“I am happy with the preparations; we just had to do some touch-up here and there,” he said to reporters after the rehearsal.

Kota Kinabalu mayor Yeo Boon Hai was also present at the rehearsal.