KUALA LUMPUR, Aug 31 — The spirit of unity filled the air as people of various races ushered in the 62nd National Day celebration in a joyous mood throughout the country last night.
Regardless of background, race and religion, crowds thronged various locations, waving the Jalur Gemilang, and clapping and singing with patriotic fervour like one family.
At the KLCC grounds here, thousands of people started gathering from 8pm for the Merdeka countdown, which coincided with the 20th anniversary of the iconic twin towers, a symbol of pride for Malaysians.
The celebration also attracted many foreign tourists and the crowd was treated to a concert and grand fireworks display.
They were entertained to a string of traditional and modern songs by local artistes who included leading names like Datuk David Amurugam, Khai Bahar and Bunkface.
In Negri Sembilan, the Ambang Merdeka celebration was livened up by the participation of about 100 secondary school students in the “Program Bermalam Di Muzium 2019” at Teratak Za’ba, Batu Kikir, Jempol.
The participants, aged between 13 and 17, had earlier joined a nationhood programme before attending the highlight event donning a headgear and waving the Jalur Gemilang, accompanied by shouts of ‘Merdeka’ and the singing of Negaraku at the stroke of midnight.
At Benteng Walk Seremban, state Women Affairs, Family and Welfare Action Committee chairman Nicole Tan Lee Koon joined some 300 people for the Merdeka countdown.
In Penang, 300 people took part in the Ambang Merdeka Run 2019 covering three kilometres in Bayan Lepas.
The run, which was flagged off by Chief Minister Chow Kon Yeow, was organised for the first time by the Bayan Lepas State Assembly Office to spice up the National Day celebrations.
In Johor, more than 10,000 people gathered at Bukit Layang-Layang, Pasir Gudang for the celebration.
Among the events were a concert featuring singers Ayie Ilusi, Siti Nordiana and Ronnie Hussin, a traditional dance performance, a competition on the meaning of independence and poetry recital by school students in the state.
In Perlis, the Raja of Perlis, Tuanku Syed Sirajuddin Jamalullail, was at Stadium Tuanku Syed Putra, Kangar to join some 15,000 people for the Ambang Merdeka celebration.
He was accompanied by the Raja Perempuan of Perlis Tuanku Tengku Fauziah Tengku Abdul Rashid, Raja Muda of Perlis Tuanku Syed Faizuddin Putra Jamalullail, Raja Puan Muda of Perlis Tuanku Lailatul Shahreen Akashah Khalil and Mentri Besar Datuk Seri Azlan Man.
Tuanku Syed Sirajuddin reminded the people to continue to abide by the principles of Rukun Negara and the Federal Constitution to preserve peace and harmony in the country.
In Kedah, Mentri Besar Datuk Seri Mukhriz Mahathir said the people should not compromise the country’s independence merely because of differences and instead should use the celebration to strengthen their unity.
“Our independence is not only in terms of freeing ourselves from the clutch of colonists but the people should also liberate their minds to better themselves and for the good of the family and country,” he said at a gathering in front of Kompleks Pekan Rabu, Alor Setar.
In Shah Alam, there was an air of festivity as about 10,000 people gathered at Dataran Kemerdekaan to usher in the National Day. Also present were Mentri Besar Amirudin Shari, Selangor State Secretary Datuk Mohd Amin Ahmad Ahya and other state government leaders.
There were dance presentations by the three major races of Malays, Chinese and Indians, and a poetry declamation on patriotism.
At the stroke of midnight, Amirudin led the crowd in shouting ‘Merdeka’ seven times as the night sky was lit up by fireworks.
In Sandakan, the Royal Malaysian Navy Region Two headquarters also staged a fireworks display at midnight.
In Perak, some 3,000 people gathered at Taman Tasik Taiping to mark the occasion.
The Sultan of Perak Sultan Nazrin Shah and Raja Permaisuri of Perak Tuanku Zara Salim and other members of the Perak royalty joined in the celebration, which saw a performance by the Laman Warisan Batu Kurau group and singing of patriotic songs by artistes from Taiping.
In Terengganu, the celebration was held at Dataran Syahbandar involving more than 5,000 people who started converging there from 9 pm.
Mentri Besar Datuk Seri Dr Ahmad Samsuri Mokhtar joined in the celebration, which culminated with the raising of Jalur Gemilang and fireworks display at midnight.
In Melaka, Yang Dipertua Negeri Tun Dr Mohd Khalil Yaakob and state executive councillors joined some 10,000 people for the Merdeka countdown at Dataran Bandaraya, Majlis Bandaraya Melaka Bersejarah (MBMB).
The programme started with the singing of Negaraku, the Melaka Maju Jaya anthem, patriotic songs and presentations by artistes like Sufian Suhaimi and Siti Sarah, followed by traditional dance performances before a 10-minute fireworks display as the finale. — Bernama