JOHOR BARU: Danga Bay, the city’s latest tourist attraction along Pantai Lido, will be the converging point for locals and visitors alike as Johor hosts the national Chinese New Year Kongsi Raya celebrations today.
Culture, Arts and Tourism Minister Datuk Paduka Abdul Kadir Sheikh Fadzir said besides the 300,000 locals and foreign visitors already in the country expected to attend the event, another 50,000 were expected to be making their way from Singapore to join in the revelry, which is scheduled to start at 5pm.
Kadir expressed hope that people from various races would come for the celebrations to show the harmony and unity enjoyed by the multi-racial community in Malaysia.
“About 350,000 people are expected to flock to Danga Bay. This would make the event the largest ever gathering held in Malaysia.
“I hope the weather will be fine. Let us come together for the celebrations,” he told reporters yesterday after inspecting the final preparations for the Kongsi Raya celebrations.
Also present were Mentri Besar Datuk Abdul Ghani Othman, state Tourism Committee chairman Datuk Dr Chua Soi Lek, state Unity and Social Welfare Committee chairman Datuk K.S. Balakrishnan, state Public Utilities Committee chairman Adam Abdul Hamid, state Youth Committee chairman Ahmad Zahri and state Agriculture Committee chairman Othman Jais.
Kadir said the Kongsi Raya celebrations would also be a historic event as Singapore Prime Minister Goh Chok Tong and his Cabinet members would be attending it.
“The highlight of the event will be the tossing of yee sang by the Yang di-Pertuan Agong Tuanku Syed Sirajuddin Syed Putra Jamalullail, Johor's Sultan Iskandar, Prime Minister Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi and Goh.
Among the performances lined up include cultural performances, comedy sketches by Phua Chu Kang, Zaibo, Salleh Yaakob and Angeline Tan.
Singers from Hong Kong, Singapore and Malaysia have also been invited to the event, including Edmund So (Hong Kong), Jamie Teo (Singapore) and local artistes Penny Tai, Summer Grace group, Ning Baizura and Ramli Sarip.
Several key roads here would be closed from 8pm tonight for the event.
Johor Baru Selatan Public Order and Traffic Police chief DSP Abdul Halim Abdullah said only buses would be allowed to pass through Jalan Skudai-Pantai Lido.
The road closure begins from the Jalan Lingkaran Dalam/Jalan Abu Bakar traffic lights junction until Jalan Susur Bukit Serene and Jalan Skudai (Jalan Pantai Lido), he told Bernama.
Abdul Halim said vehicles with A, B, C and Protocol stickers could proceed to Danga Bay from Skudai, Jalan Datin Halimah and Kota Tinggi through Jalan Lingkaran Dalam-Jalan Skudai.
Vehicles without stickers could go to Danga Bay from Kota Tinggi via Jalan Tebrau-Jalan Lingkaran Dalam before proceeding to Jalan Tun Abdul Razak-Straits Garden (Skudai Kiri).
Vehicles from Jalan Datin Halimah can use the Jalan Tun Abdul Razak slip road before entering Straits Garden (Skudai Kiri) while those from Skudai can use Jalan Skudai-Jalan Tun Abdul Razak-Susur Bukit Serene.
Abdul Halim said Jalan Straits View would only be passable to residents in that area.
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