PUTRAJAYA: Putrajaya stirred awake early yesterday to a fusion of colours and the sweet fragrance of flowers.
The government administrative centre, which is usually quiet on weekends, saw about 50,000 people turning up to watch the Floral Parade along Persiaran Perdana.
The two-hour event, which boasted 18 floats and 19 performing brass bands from schools and the police, thrilled the crowd with floral creations of giant butterflies, Formula One cars, astronauts, elephants and even a giant green lizard.
Each float was accompanied by its own dancers, musicians and models, all bedecked in colourful floral costumes as they performed and twirled to the audience’s delight.
The clear favourite was the butterfly-themed concoction from Penang. It not only won a roaring round of applause from the spectators when one of its mechanical “insects” twitched its wings but also the Premier Prize from the judges for overall presentation.
Other noteworthy participants were the “green lizard agamid” float from Sabah and the “rampaging” elephants’ float from Pahang, which walked away with the trophies for best theme and the Jury Special Award respectively.
The parade, which was attended by the Yang di-Pertuan Agong Tuanku Mizan Zainal Abidin Sultan Mahmud Al-Muktafi Billah Shah and the Raja Permaisuri Agong Tuanku Nur Zahirah, was the culmination of the week-long Flora Fest.
Also present were Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak and his wife Datin Seri Rosmah Mansor, and Tourism Minister Datuk Seri Tengku Adnan Tengku Mansor.
“Malaysia is not just one country or one city. We are an electrifying melting pot of arts, business, culture, commerce, music, dance, food and celebrations which cannot be accurately summed up, unless one has been all around the country to take in the sights and sounds,” Najib said at the launch of the parade.
He urged Malaysians to “think local” when taking their holidays instead of travelling overseas.
Najib said this year’s floral parade was the biggest since it was first launched in 1991.
“I hope the parade will attract more participants in the years to come so that one day, it will become comparable to the floral fests held in other countries.
“The commercial cultivation of flowers in our country is still at a low level and is usually based in the highlands due to the climate.
“There may come a day when we will be able to intensify this sector of horticulture and increase our production of fresh flowers,” he said.
“Malaysia may just become the regional centre for flowers if we put careful planning and effort into it.”
Tengku Adnan said the parade attracted some 3,000 foreign visitors, including overseas journalists, photographers and tour agents.
“We managed to sell 3,000 tour packages just for the parade,” he added.
Among those who turned up was 70-year-old Capt G. F. Leibbrandt, a Dutch citizen who had been living in Malaysia for the past 27 years.
“I’ve only got my Permanent Residence two weeks ago after so many years of waiting. And the reward for the waiting is that I will be able to live in the country for the rest of my life.
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