BINTULU, Sept 16 — A very enthusiastic “Sehati Sejiwa” imbued crowd favoured by very fine evening weather in this coastal oil and gas town made the national-level 2016 Malaysia Day at the old airport site here a night to remember and to cherish for a long time.
The multi-racial crowd, estimated to be 12,000 strong and from all walks of life, started to converge at the site on the town’s fringe as early as 7pm in order to grab the best viewing positions.
The celebration, held here for the second time, carrying the theme “Sehati Sejiwa (One Heart, One Soul) started with various entertainment events including the singing of patriotic songs at 7pm.
At 7.30pm the invited guests including government dignitaries started to make their way to the site.
They included Sarawak Chief Minister Tan Sri Adenan Satem and his wife Puan Sri Jamilah Anu and Sabah Deputy Chief Minister Tan Sri Joseph Pairin Kitingan and wife Datin Seri Genevieve Kitingan. Pairin represented Sabah Chief Minister Datuk Seri Musa Aman.
They were followed, minutes later, by Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak and wife Datin Seri Rosmah Mansor.
Joining them were Communications and Multimedia Minister Datuk Seri Dr Salleh Said Keruak, Transport Minister Datuk Seri Liow Tong Lai and other federal and state cabinet members.
The Sarawak state anthem “Ibu Pertiwiku” filled the air soon after with the arrival of the Sarawak Yang Dipertua Negeri Tun Abdul Taib Mahmud and wife Toh Puan Raghad Kurdi Taib.
Their arrival sparked off a very lively welcoming repertoire from the youthful performers followed by a Malaysia Day video clip presentation.
Then the evening programme continued with speeches from both Adenan and Najib.
After both speeches, Jalur Gemilang Kembara (national flag expedition) convoy comprising about 50 officers of the state Information Department led by Aba Sam made their way to the VIP stage to present the Jalur Gemilang to Izzuadi Yassin, leader of the Bintulu Sehati Sejiwa Activist Group who then handed it over to Najib.
The flag was then raised by a Malaysian navy volunteer troupe to the accompaniment of the Negara Ku (national anthem) played by a police band.
When this was over, Tun Abdul Taib, witnessed by Najib, Adenan, Pairin, Sarawak deputy chief minister Tan Sri Dr James Masing (minister in charge of the celebration) and others beat a digital drum to symbolically mark the occasion to boisterous cheers from the performers and the crowd.
He then signed a special Malaysia Day celebration book before cutting a cake.
The evening continued on with more entertainment programmes before it ended at about 10.30pm. — Bernama