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Tuesday September 17, 2013 MYT 12:00:00 AM
Tuesday September 17, 2013 MYT 7:30:51 AM
by yu ji
The King and Queen (centre) witnessing the Malaysia Day parade at Padang Merdeka in Kuching. Also at the celebration are (from left) Chief Minister Tan Sri Abdul Taib Mahmud, Muhyiddin, Najib, Sarawak Head of State Tun Muhammad Salahuddin and his wife Toh Puan Norkiah, Datin Seri Rosmah Mansor and Puan Sri Ragad Kurdi Taib. — ZULAZHAR SHEBLEE / The Star
KUCHING: Over 20,000 people attended the parade held in conjunction with the 50th anniversary of Malaysia Day here, one of the largest ever held in Sarawak.
The show began with a bang — literally — at 8am when six cannons at the historic Padang Merdeka were fired across the Sarawak River to mark the start of the parade.
The Yang di-Pertuan Agong, Tuanku Abdul Halim Mu’adzam Shah, accompanied by Raja Permaisuri Agong Tuanku Hajah Haminah, then formally launched the ceremony.
Also present were Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak and his deputy Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin. The VIP tents were also teeming with members of the state Cabinet, military veterans and foreign dignitaries.
In between speeches from the leaders, archived footage on the proclamation of Malaysia, which took place 50 years ago at the same padang were played on gigantic LED screens.
There were also re-enactments of Sarawak during the White Rajah era, the Japanese occupation and the British colonial period.
Lee Ya Yuen, a Johorean working in Sarawak, said it was good that the significance of Sept 16 had finally been acknowledged.
“I know the significance because I live here. But for most people in peninsular Malaysia, I think they are just happy with another public holiday. I really don’t think that the young people in peninsular Malaysia know much about Malaysia Day.”
Similar large-scale celebrations should also be held in the peninsula, she said, adding that this would play a role in educating people on the significance of Malaysia Day.
State Tourism Minister Datuk Amar Abang Johari Tun Openg told reporters that the parade involved 10,000 people, many of whom were students, civil servants, and members of car enthusiasts clubs and uniformed bodies.
Thanking everyone who took part in the event, Johari said the rain that fell during the Malaysia Day eve river float did not dampen the spirits of the crowd.
The theme for the Golden Jubilee of Sarawak’s independence within Malaysia was “Sarawak Harmoni, Kemakmuran Dinikmati” (Harmony in Sarawak, Prosperity for All).
The parade yesterday capped a series of Golden Jubilee events held in Sarawak since March.
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