FIFTEEN boats with 100 fishermen and guests on board paraded out to sea in celebration of the country’s 63rd year of independence.
Decorated with Jalur Gemilang of various sizes, the boats cruised along the coast in Yan district, Kedah, during the celebration themed ‘Merdeka@Komuniti-Konvoi Jalur Gemilang Bot Nelayan’ on Tuesday.
The procession began with the boats cruising in a straight line at the jetty of Kuala Sungai Udang before breaking the formation to cruise side by side while at sea.
Three owners with the most beautifully decorated boats were rewarded with cash prizes and hampers.
The event was organised by the state Information Department and Koperasi Desa Keda Sungai Udang.
Kedah industry & investment, science, technology & innovation and higher education committee chairman Datuk Wira Dr Ku Abdul Rahman Ku Ismail said about 100 fishermen on 15 fishing boats took part in the cruise and competition.
He said the maiden event was aimed at promoting the Merdeka spirit among the fishing community and local residents during the Merdeka month.
“The boats decorated with Jalur Gemilang of various sizes began their 3km round-trip journey from the jetty of Kuala Sungai Udang to the waterfront of Pantai Murni.
“It is a patriotic event initiated by the fishermen without a single sen contributed by the state government.
“I hope it will become an annual Merdeka month celebration, ” he said before flagging off the event.
Ku Abdul Rahman said securing independence from the British was not an easy task.
“Hundreds of meeting were held with the British government in London before an appropriate Federal Constitution was enacted for this multi-racial nation.
“We must all stay united although we are from different origins.
“It is the responsibility of Malaysians to make sure that the spirit of independence is instilled and implanted in the people’s hearts.
Meanwhile, Koperasi Desa Keda Sungai Udang deputy chairman Yani Madewnus Mohd Yunus, 45, said the competition involved 11 fiberglass boats, which were normally used to ferry tourists and locals for fishing trips, and four traditional wooden fishing boats used to catch fishes and prawns.
“All the boat skippers displayed their beautifully decorated boats to the judges at the open sea.
“It took three days for all the boats to be decorated, ” he said.
The top three winners were Mohd Khairul Izuwan Samsudin, 27, Shahrul Amir Che Ani, 31, and Roslan Kasa, 49.
Mohd Khairul from Kampung Keda said he decorated his fiberglass boat with Jalur Gemilang to make it look like a ‘sailing boat’ (kapal layar).
“It took me about seven hours to complete the decoration.
“I am really happy to receive the RM150 cash prize and a hamper.
“I spent RM70 to purchase the national flags of various sizes.
“The most important thing was to showcase my patriotism as a Malaysian, ” he said.
Shahrul Amir and Roslan won RM100 each for coming in second and third in the competition.
Also present were Sungai Limau assemblyman Ustaz Mohd Azam Abd Samat and state Informaton Department director Nasrudin Mahmud.