KUALA LUMPUR: International sporting triumphs uplift the mood of the public and generate positive sentiments across the nation, said Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak.
He reflected that sport has a unifying effect which helps boost the nation's spirit and psyche.
"I want our recent Olympics and Paralympics successes to be the stepping stone for us to celebrate bigger achievements in sports,” said Najib during an appreciation ceremony by Umno to honour Olympic and Paralympic athletes here today.
"Sport is a popular topic in this country. I know this because whenever I tweet about sports, I receive overwhelming responses, but if I tweet about politics, responses are fewer.
"Sport is very near to our hearts and if it develops, it will create a more positive Malaysia,” he added.
The ceremony saw Umno awarding Olympic and Paralympic medallists with additional incentives of RM30,000 (Gold), RM20,000 (Silver) and RM10,000 (Bronze).
Other athletes, coaches and chefs de mission received plaques for their success at the games in Rio.
Also present were Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Dr Ahmad Zahid Hamidi, Youth and Sports Minister Khairy Jamaluddin and other Umno supreme council members.