KUALA LUMPUR, Aug 31 — The 2017 National Day celebration at historic Dataran Merdeka, here, today has been hailed by some of the nation’s leaders as astounding and extraordinary in terms of presentation and public support.
Watched by over 500,000 people who converged at the iconic square and its surrounding areas, the celebration themed ‘Negaraku Sehati Sejiwa’ (My Country, One Heart, One Soul) saw the scene and atmosphere brought back to Aug 31, 1957 where Malaysia’s first prime minister Tunku Abdul Rahman Putra Al-Haj pronounced the country’s independence from colonial rule, at nearby Merdeka Stadium.
Some of the country’s leaders met after the National Day parade said the performance put up by the various contingents this year managed to revive the ‘Merdeka’ (Independence) spirit, besides portraying the various transformations the country had gone through since 1957.
Communications and Multimedia Minister, Datuk Seri Dr Salleh Said Keruak said the difference in presentation this time could be effective in creating awareness in the people of the need to appreciate the peace in the country.
“Alhamdulillah (Praise be to God), the celebration went on smoothly in the true Malaysian spirit.
“It’s important for us to see this country’s journey of progress and development since it was formed, and we have showcased what we’ve gone through and also the future, including the National Transformation Plan mooted by Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak,” he said.
Besides the presence of the country’s leaders and other dignitaries, the celebration was also graced by Sultan Muhammad V, His Majesty’s first time at the national-level celebration since being installed as the 15th Yang di-Pertuan Agong earlier this year.
Salleh was confident that the carefuly planned and executed three-hour presentation could touch the hearts of Malaysians to love their country more.
“It’s important to create something different to make them aware of how difficult it was to gain independence for the country, and to protect that independence as well as to stay united regardless of race and religion,” he said.
Domestic Trade, Cooperatives and Consumerism Minister, Datuk Seri Hamzah Zainuddin said this year’s presentation was in sync with the country’s mature state, after having gone through many bittersweet experiences.
“Today’s presentation and parade could inspire the young to appreciate the struggles of those who had fought for the country’s independence,” he said.
Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department, Datuk Seri Dr Wee Ka Siong viewed this year’s National Day celebration here as remarkable and compact with various historical episodes to remember and appreciate those independence fighters.
“The celebration this time should heighten our patriotic spirit. It has been 60 years, don’t take this for granted, as it was the result of our struggles together since then until now,” he said.
Youth and Sports Minister Khairy Jamaluddin’s brief comment was: “Really stupendous National Day celebration this time, and the people’s mood the best. Alhamdulillah.”
His deputy Datuk M. Saravanan said it was a double joy this time for Malaysians after the national athletes did the country proud by emerging overall champions in the Kuala Lumpur SEA Games 2017 with a haul of 145 gold, 92 silver and 86 bronze medals.
“It’s a double joy. The SEA Games (which came to a close late last night) followed by the National Day celebration this morning. It is commendable in terms of organisation and participation. I believe the spirit today will live on,” he said. — Bernama