PETALING JAYA: State-level parades and festivities were held throughout the country to mark the nation’s 48th National Day.
In Alor Star, the celebrations were held at Dataran Tunku and Che Det Mall attended by Sultan Abdul Halim Mu'adzam Shah and Sultanah Haminah Hamidun and acting Mentri Besar Datuk Mahdzir Khalid.
In Penang, thousands of people thronged Padang Dataran Pemuda where 7,536 people from 115 contingents took part in a parade that covered several main roads in Butterworth.
Present were Yang di-Pertua Negri Tun Abdul Rahman Abbas and Chief Minister Tan Sri Dr Koh Tsu Koon.
In Teluk Intan, thousands of residents gathered as early as 6am to witness their first National Day parade involving 104 contingents from all over Perak.
The colourful parade featured 20 school brass bands, and armoured vehicles from the army and police, among others.
The contingents marched past the Hilir Perak District and Land Office in Persiaran Intan and ended at the Mini Stadium in Jalan Speedy.
Sultan of Perak Sultan Azlan Shah graced the occasion with Raja Permaisuri Tuanku Bainun and Raja Muda of Perak Raja Nazrin Shah.
In Shah Alam, more than 4,000 participants in 96 contingents from the public and private sectors and schoolchildren took part in the state-level Merdeka Day parade.
Witnessing the event were Mentri Besar Datuk Seri Dr Mohamad Khir Toyo and about 1,000 residents from Shah Alam and surrounding areas.
In Seremban, Yang di-Pertuan Besar Tuanku Ja'afar Tuanku Abdul Rahman and Tuanku Ampuan Negri Sembilan Tuanku Najihah Tunku Besar Burhanuddin graced a parade which was also participated by members of Umno, the MCA and the MIC.
In Malacca, about 11,000 people participated in a 5km parade participated by 130 contingents. It began from the Independence Proclamation Memorial in Bandar Hilir to Hang Tuah Mall.
In Segamat, Johor Mentri Besar Datuk Abdul Ghani Othman released 48 birds to symbolise 48 years of independence at the newly built Dataran Segamat.
Some 76 contingents from various government bodies, non-governmental organisations (NGOs) and the private sector took part in the march past, which began at 8am.
In Kuantan, a Merdeka parade was held at the Kemunting field. It began with a welcoming ceremony by a guard-of-honour comprising members of the 1st Regiment of the Royal Armoured Corps.
A group of five Form Six students from SMK Sultan Abu Bakar then led the 15,000 crowd in reciting the Rukun Negara and seven shouts of “Merdeka” before Tengku Mahkota of Pahang Tengku Abdullah Sultan Ahmad Shah.
In Kota Baru, Mentri Besar Datuk Nik Abdul Aziz Nik Mat took the salute at the march past comprising 4,760 participants from 136 contingents from various government departments and agencies and NGOs at the Sultan Muhammad IV Stadium.
In Kuala Terengganu, more than 10,000 people turned up to watch the National Day parade from the Sultan Ismail Nasiruddin Shah Stadium to the Batu Buruk Recreational Park.
In Kapit, which hosted the Sarawak-level Merdeka celebrations, more than 2,200 participants from 54 contingents took part in a parade at the sports complex.
In Kota Kinabalu, the state Merdeka Day parade took on a colourful ethnic twist with dancers garbed in the traditional costumes of its indigenous communities performing the sumazau of the Kadazandusuns, the daling daling of the Suluks and monggigol of the Rungus.
What they sayHousing and Local Government Minister Datuk Seri Ong Ka Ting: “It is a true reflection of our multi-racial and cultural society. “I am especially happy to see children in the parade and I hope the country remains strong and united forever.”
Works Minister Datuk Seri S. Samy Vellu: “The Merdeka Day parade shows our culture and how we have become united like one big happy family.”
Energy, Water and Communications Minister Datuk Seri Dr Lim Keng Yaik: “A well-executed parade which shows that we Malaysians take pride in such events.”
Agriculture and Agro-Based Industries Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin: “I have always enjoyed watching the National Day parade. The rakyat should come to watch the parade live.”
Information Minister Datuk Seri Abdul Kadir Sheikh Fadzir (National Day celebrations organising committee chairman): “I am very happy that it went smoothly. The weather has been very kind. The marchers, musicians and others gave a sterling show.”
Seputeh MP and DAP publicity secretary Teresa Kok:“It is good to see children participate in a synchronised manner although participation from Proton and the traditional Chinese and Indian dances are missing this year.”
German tourist Guenter Unoespel, 57: “It’s very different from our Independence Day in Germany, which is a silent affair. Here, everybody is out to celebrate.”
John Kitoto, 44, from Kenya: “Everyone seems so patriotic. I’m amazed to see such unity.”
American Kathleen Hart, 42: “I’ve seen a few parades overseas but this one is impressive, with the different races coming together. I was impressed by children in red, blue, white and yellow outfits marching.”
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