KUALA LUMPUR, Aug 31 – Malaysians from all walks of life today celebrated National Day 2017 around the country in an overwhelming expression of love for their motherland and solidarity, reminiscent of their forefathers’ patriotism and unity at the time the nation gained independence.
Adults and children alike thronged the venues of the celebration in the federal and state capitals and other cities to watch a colourful display of culture and dance, marching bands and uniformed personnel, and precision performances by the police and military personnel and assets, among others.
The showcase on the ground and the flypast of aircraft overhead, in Kuala Lumpur at least, were complemented by visual displays on giant LED screens that delivered the story and message of the performance and parade clearly to the public. The National Day extravaganza, carrying the theme of “Negaraku: Sehati Sejiwa” (My Country: One Heart, One Soul), drew the attention of not only Malaysians but also foreign tourists, all of whom gathered early at the respective venues to watch the annual show.
The public holidays today (for National Day), tomorrow (for Aidiladha) and on Monday (an extra holiday declared for Malaysia’s SEA Games achievement) has allowed for a five-day-long weekend. Therefore, the schoolchildren are also on holiday for a week up to Monday.
Dataran Merdeka in KUALA LUMPUR was a sea of colour and gaiety in fine weather as close to 18,000 people, comprising employees of government departments and agencies and the private sector, the police and military, and schoolchildren brought to life the atmosphere of the independence gathering at the Merdeka Stadium in 1957.
The Yang di-Pertuan Agong, Sultan Muhammad V, Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Abdul Razak, Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Dr Ahmad Zahid Hamidi, Cabinet ministers and guests watched the performance and parade at Dataran Merdeka here from 8am.
The people started gathering at Dataran Merdeka as early as 6am to join the nation’s leaders in celebrating National Day 2017, arriving there via the Mass Rapid Transit, monorail, and buses to catch the best spot to watch the show at the grounds which had been given a facelift to resemble the Merdeka Stadium.
What appeared to be the largest band, made up of performers from 11 security and enforcement agencies, started performing from about 7am. The Victoria Institution band conducted a pocket show in front of Menara DBKL which houses the Kuala Lumpur City Hall offices.
In KUALA TERENGGANU, Dataran Batu Burok was the venue of the assembly and parade which were watched by the Yang Dipertuan Muda of Terengganu, Tengku Muhammad Ismail Sultan Mizan, and elder sister Tengku Nadhirah Zahrah. Also present were Mentri Besar Datuk Seri Ahmad Razif Abd Rahman and state executive councillors.
People from all communities took part in the gathering and parade over 4.1km in an atmosphere of harmony, as others lining the route waved the Jalur Gemilang national flag. A total of 142 contingents comprising 6,992 people from government departments and agencies, schools, institutions of higher learning, uniformed bodies and NGOs took part in the parade.
In JOHOR BARU, 129 contingents comprising 4,500 people in various kinds of attire in the Jalur Gemilang theme marched two kilometres from Padang Ekstrem Pasir Gudang to the Pasir Gudang Municipal Council Indoor Stadium. Spectators were also thrilled by a parade of vintage cars, including the Morris 8 from the Johor Vintage Car and Classic Bike Enthusiasts Club, and assets of the Malaysian Armed Forces, Fire and Rescue Department and Malaysian Maritime Enforcement Agency.
A history of Malaysian independence was portrayed on a large screen at the indoor stadium. In KOTA BHARU, a performance by a group of 21 “warriors” impressed spectators at the National Day 2017 celebration at Universiti Sains Malaysia Kubang Kerian.
The group, headed by Panglima Singa Malaya, Mohd Amru Rosli, 34, of the Kelantan Association of Silat Seni Gayong Malaysia, performed the various moves of the art of self-defence. Mohd Amru said the performance conveyed a message of discipline and patriotism.
Almost 2,000 people in 60 contingents, comprising employees of government departments and the private sector and representatives of NGOs, took part in the gathering and parade which was attended by Kelantan Mentri Besar Datuk Ahmad Yakob.
In ALOR STAR, 95 contingents comprising over 2,000 people took part in the celebration at Dataran Wisma Darul Aman before the Raja Muda of Kedah, Tan Sri Tunku Sallehuddin Ibni Almarhum Sultan Badlishah, and the Raja Puan Muda of Kedah, Puan Sri Tengku Maliha Tengku Ariff.
In MALACCA, 9,680 people in 193 contingents took part in the parade and procession at the Declaration of Independence Memorial in Bandar Hilir, which had the theme “Era of Independence 1957”. Some spectators were seen dressed in 50s style attire.
In SEREMBAN, an estimated 20,000 people participated in the celebration at the Seremban Municipal Council field. A total of 110 contingents comprising 13,000 people, among them security forces personnel and government servants, took part in the parade.
In IPOH, the Sultan of Perak, Sultan Nazrin Shah, and the Raja Permaisuri of Perak, Tuanku Zara Salim, attended the celebration at Dataran Bandaran Ipoh. About 10,000 people watched the performance put up by 107 contingents comprising 5,213 people, among them 105 members of a choir made up of schoolchildren.
In GEORGE TOWN, 5,800 people making up 88 contingents took part in the parade at Padang Kota Lama. A display of unarmed combat by a military team impressed the spectators, among whom were several foreign tourists.
In KUANTAN, the hot weather did not deter over 10,000 people of all walks of life from watching the National Day celebration at Jalan Mahkota. Many of them had turned up as early as 7am for the parade and procession of 6,566 people in 89 contingents that started at 8.30am. The highlight of the event was the parachuting of 10 officers and men of the Special Air Unit of the Royal Malaysian Air Force. — Bernama