PUTRAJAYA: The 62nd National Day celebrations kicked off in grand fashion, with tens of thousands of Malaysians gathered around Persiaran Perdana here to witness the annual parade on Saturday (Aug 31).
The Yang di-Pertuan Agong Al-Sultan Abdullah Ri'ayatuddin Al-Mustafa Billah Shah and the Raja Permaisuri Agong Tunku Azizah Aminah Maimunah Iskandariah arrived at the venue at 8am.
Their arrival was greeted by Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad and wife Tun Dr Siti Hasmah Mohd Ali, before the royal couple were led to the main stage.
This is the first year Sultan Abdullah is attending the Merdeka celebrations as king, following his appointment as the 16th Yang di-Pertuan Agong on Jan 31.
Earlier, Dr Mahathir's arrival at 7.50am was greeted with rousing applause.
The 94-year-old delighted the crowd as he was seen driving a maroon Proton Saga to the main stage.
Also among the VIP list were Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Dr Wan Azizah Wan Ismail, Multimedia and Communications Minister Gobind Singh Deo, other Cabinet ministers as well as foreign dignitaries.
People came as early as 6am to the administrative capital in view of the anticipated road closures and traffic congestion.
For two years in a row, the National Day celebrations have been organised at Putrajaya, away from the usual location of Dataran Merdeka in Kuala Lumpur.
After the historic change of government in May 2018, the Pakatan Harapan administration decided to host the Merdeka Day parade in Putrajaya.
The theme of this year's celebration is "Sayangi Malaysiaku: Malaysia Bersih".
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