KOTA KINABALU: An early morning parade kicked off Sabah’s Malaysia Day and Merdeka celebrations that culminated with a 10-minute breathtaking fireworks display.
The Malaysia Day festivities started off with a colourful parade made more vibrant with the presence of 54 youths dressed in traditional costumes, delighting the crowd of several thousands who thronged the event.
The youths performed the 1Malaysia dance - a blend of dances of the country’s communities with the local sumazau as a finale.
They were among a contingent of 144 who took part in the two hour parade which kicked off at 7.30am at the Dataran Bandaraya (City Square) along the seaside of Jalan Tun Fuad Stephen.
Among those who witnessed the parade were Chief Minister Datuk Musa Aman, state ministers and other leaders.
The sunny weather provided an ideal atmosphere for the parade that began with a march past by members of the security forces including the army, navy, police and Malaysian Maritime Enforcement Agency (MMEA) personnel.
Others who took part in the parade include students from 42 primary, secondary and institutes of higher learning, staff of government departments and NGOs.
Among the highlights of the parade was a procession of some 20 Volkswagen cars led by the 2011 Unduk Ngadau (Harvest Queen) Bo Tiza Arthur S Disimon sitting in a convertible vehicle.
The parade also featured a procession of Proton and Perodua vehicles amid applause from the crowds.
The celebrations continued into the evening with the Malam Merdeka celebrations at the Padang Merdeka in the downtown area.
The event kicked off with the raising of the Jalur Gemilang witnessed by a crowd of several thousands that included Sabah Yang Di Pertua Negri Tun Juhar Mahiruddin, Musa as well as various state leaders.
Musa then led the crowd tocall out Merdeka seven times before a group of cultural performers took to the stage.
This was followed by performances by local artistes including Adam, Candy, Abu Bakar Ella and Valerie Wong.
The highlight of the evening was the fireworks display.