MALAYSIA MARKS 50 YEARS AS A NATION

Malaysia celebrated 50 years of independence from Britain. The country became independent on August 31, 1957. Prime Minister Abdullah Badawi used an anniversary speech to urge people to unify as a nation. “We must ensure that no region or community is left behind,” he said. He further asserted, “We will hold true to the concept…

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Malaysia celebrated 50 years of independence from Britain. The country became independent on August 31, 1957. Prime Minister Abdullah Badawi used an anniversary speech to urge people to unify as a nation. “We must ensure that no region or community is left behind,” he said. He further asserted, “We will hold true to the concept of justice and fairness for all citizens.” Some 60,000 people gathered to watch scenes of the nation’s last 50 years projected on to the capital’s skyscrapers. Fireworks lit up the sky and the national flag was raised to mark the end of British colonial rule on the Malay Peninsula. Celebrations included a fly-past by the Royal Malaysian Air Force, as well as displays from the police cavalry and tracker dog units. Several foreign dignitaries attended the celebrations, including Britain’s Prince Andrew. Prime ministers from Thailand, Singapore, the Philippines, Laos, Vietnam and Cambodia were all present. The general mood in Malaysia seems to be one of optimism as this nation reflects on half-a-century of upheavals and progress. Political stability and years of ambitious development have transformed the economy.