KAMPAR: Prime Minister Datuk Seri Dr Mahathir Mohamad received a standing ovation from more than 30,000 people yesterday when the song Thank You For Being A Friend (lyrics below) was specially dedicated to him at the ground-breaking ceremony for Universiti Tunku Abdul Rahman (Utar).
Its lyrics, which paid tribute to Dr Mahathir, sum up his leadership qualities and contributions to the nation as well as the people’s appreciation and gratitude towards him.
It was sung by the Caring and Sharing Choir led by MCA President and Transport Minister Datuk Seri Dr Ling Liong Sik's wife Datin Seri Ena Ling.
The choir also rendered three other tunes – the Mandarin version of Thank You For Being A Friend, the Malay song Ai Ai Ai Twist and the Utar theme song.
Thirteen-year-old student Toh Shu Jiun then recited a Malay poem, the one that won her last year’s national poetry recital competition among vernacular schools.
The ceremony kicked off with a multi-ethnic dance themed “The beauty of a rainbow in the Malaysian sky” by the Soka Gakkai Malaysia group.
Both presentations won praises from Dr Mahathir who was clearly impressed.
Utar is a Chinese-owned university and the multi-cultural performances could forge closer ties among the various ethnic groups in the country, thus enhancing the nation’s peace, he said.
The Prime Minister, with his wife Datin Seri Dr Siti Hasmah Mohd Ali, arrived at 3pm and was greeted by about two kilometres of banners leading to the site, depicting his major achievements over the 21 years at the nation’s helm.
The 30,000-strong crowd were ferried from all over the country in about 700 buses, arriving as early as noon.
At 4.40pm, Dr Mahathir completed the ceremony by signing a plaque to mark the opening of the new campus and filled in the last brick to symbolise its completion .
MCA president Datuk Seri Dr Ling Liong Sik said the entire ceremony was “very good'', went on smoothly, and that the crowd was orderly.
“No words can describe my feelings today,” he said beaming.
Armed with Utar umbrellas under the blazing sun, the crowd took about an hour to walk more than a kilometre to the site of the ceremony.
Among those present were Mentri Besar Datuk Seri Mohamad Tajol Rosli Ghazali and his wife Datin Seri Kamariah Mokri.
Earlier, Perak MCA Youth held the last of 10 torch runs from the Kampar town field at 12.30pm with 3,000 participants proudly carrying 12,000 flags bearing the Utar logo.
The crowd later gathered at the Utar site joined by thousands, some of who came from all over Malaysia just to witness the occasion.
Bandar Baru Kampar and the roads leading to the site were decorated with many flags and banners, many of which proclaimed Dr Mahathir as the “Father of Modern Malaysia” and the “Saviour of Malaysia’s Economy.”
|THANK YOU FOR BEING A FRIEND |
The time has come to say thank you to youWe won't forget the happy times that we've been throughYou've done us proud, and so we must be sayingTerima Kasih, nandri, sieh sieh nee
And so today something we must tell youYou've been a friend so wonderful and trueFor all the help you have willingly been givingWe'd like to dedicate this song to you
We want to thank you for being a friendFor being by our side to give a helping handFor all the troubles that you shared without complainingThank you for being our friend
We want to thank you for being a friendFor standing by us right until the very endFor all the inspiration that you have been givingThank you for being our friend
Our nation ha grown because we have you thereYou've fought with us and you have shown no fearAnd so we'll tell you again, with our best wishesThese words you hear come straight from our hearts
We want to thank you for being a friendFor all the love and support that you sendFor all the laughter and the tears we shared togetherThank you for being our friendThank you for being our friend