SHAH ALAM: It was just 5.30am. But cars were already streaming in.
By 7.15am, participants were making their way to the starting line at Eco Ardence’s sales gallery.
They were among the 10,000 people who came for the fourth #AnakAnakMalaysia Walk, which took place here at the Eco Ardence development, surpassing the 7,000 target.
The mood was festive as participants gathered for photo-ops and selfies in front of the giant #AnakAnakMalaysia logo.
After a round of warm-ups led by instructors from i-1 gym, the walk was jointly flagged off by Selangor Mentri Besar Amirudin Shari, together with Eco World Development Group Berhad chairman Tan Sri Liew Kee Sin, Rural and Regional Development Deputy Minister Sivarasa Rasiah, Eco World Foundation chairman Tan Sri Lee Lam Thye, Star Media Group chairman Datuk Fu Ah Kiow and chief executive officer Datuk Seri Wong Chun Wai.
Lee said the number this year was overwhelming due to the hordes of people turning up spontaneously yesterday itself.
Lee, who is the organising chairman of the campaign, hoped more entities, not just corporate companies, would take the lead in organising similar activities to promote “moments of unity”.
Liew also expressed surprise at the participants’ enthusiasm this time, noting that it was larger than last year’s event in Shah Alam.
“The people here are all so enthusiastic. It shows that Malaysians care about their country.
“The theme for this year is Jom Ke Hadapan; you can see people from different backgrounds, race, religions, all come and walk as Malaysians,” Liew said, adding that EcoWorld and Star Media Group wanted to do their share, as private companies, in promoting unity.
Amirudin, who led off the second batch of participants around the 4km course, said he enjoyed the event and commended its objectives.
“It’s important to enhance understanding among the people. We need more activities that bring people together, so they can start understanding and communicating with each other, as a lot of problems start when people don’t communicate with each other,” Amirudin said.
The walk featured various groups including those from Sabah and Sarawak who came decked out in their traditional Kadazandusun, Iban and Bidayuh attire.
Fourteen members of the Beautiful Gate Foundation, an NGO for the disabled community, were present too, led by its executive director Pastor Sia Siew Chin.
“It makes us feel a part of the community and that we’re accepted because we are also #AnakAnakMalaysia and have a right to take part in everyday activities,” said Sia.
Khazanah Nasional managing director Datuk Shahril Ridza Ridzuan, who came with his family members, said it was great fun to be at the walk.
“This is not my first time here. I was here last year as well,” he said.
Participants were treated to a musical performance by EcoWorld’s Symphony Drummers troupe including a mash-up of Anak Malaysia and Jalur Gemilang.
The day drew to a close with a lucky draw featuring prizes such as a Vespa S125 scooter, return flight tickets to Hawaii and Japan by AirAsia and the grand prize of a Proton Saga.
Student on cloud nine over flight tickets to Tokyo