Extensive facelifts were carried out for Kuala Terengganu, which attained city status on Jan 1 and is now known as the Waterfront Heritage City.
An array of colourful ornaments and lights were placed along major roads and Dataran Shahbandar, where the new city proclamation was made by Mentri Besar Datuk Seri Idris Jusoh and witnessed by the Regent of Terengganu and other dignitaries.
With city status for Kuala Terengganu, the state hopes to attract more investors and tourists to the metropolis, which previously was tagged as a dead town lagging behind other major state capitals in term of development.
The city, however, saw massive facelifts since 2004 due to various projects including the Monsoon Cup.
I am proud my former placid fishing village is now a city. I returned to my hometown so that I would not miss this auspicious moment, said 64-year-old Toh Fee Yan, who is now a permanent resident of Australia.
Toh said he kept abreast with the development of Kuala Terengganu through the Internet, although he left the country as a teenager.
This is the land where I was born and the childhood memories keep haunting me, so I make it a point to visit annually, he said.
Another local boy, S. Vikneswaran, 39, took his annual leave to be in Kuala Terengganu for the event.
I grew up in this town, and my heart is still for Kuala Terengganu, although I have been away in Kuala Lumpur for more that two decades.
Where else can we find people so closely knit, regardless of race and creed, as in Kuala Terengganu, he said.
Vikneswaran said that all locals felt exalted with Kuala Terengganu attaining city status.
I can now flaunt to my KL friends that I also hail from a city, he said in jest.