KOTA KINABALU: Thousands from all walks of life joined in the Sabah state-level National Day celebrations at Dataran Bandaraya here on Thursday (Aug 31).
Further festivities were scheduled for later in the day in Tambunan, with the state also celebrating Sabah Day for the first time.
Leading the celebrations here were Head of State Tun Juhar Mahiruddin and Chief Minister Datuk Seri Hajiji Noor.
People turned up as early as 6.30am to watch the National Day parade at Dataran Bandaraya along Jalan Tun Fuad Stephens.
The celebration began with the arrival of Juhar and wife Toh Puan Norlidah RM Jasni at the grandstand in front of the Promenade Hotel, where they were greeted by the Chief Minister and main organising chairman Datuk Seri Masidi Manjun.
Tun Juhar later inspected the 113-strong guard of honour from the 22nd Battalion of the Malay Regiment, Sandakan led by Major Mohd Adam Embi.
The parade started with a helicopter fly-past comprising the Police Air Unit, Royal Malaysian Navy and Malaysian Maritime Enforcement Agency.
A total of 112 contingents representing the security forces, uniformed bodies, ministries, schools, higher learning institutions, ethnic cultural associations, NGOs and private sector participated in the march past.
Twenty-eight motorcades also participated.
Also present were Speaker Datuk Kadzim Yahya, Deputy Chief Minister I Datuk Seri Dr Jeffrey Kitingan, Deputy Chief Minister II Datuk Seri Dr Joachim Gunsalam, Deputy Chief Minister III Datuk Shahelmey Yahya, State Secretary Datuk Seri Safar Untong, state Cabinet ministers and other dignitaries.
Sabahans are also celebrating Sabah Day for the first time this year on Aug 31.
Hajiji had on Aug 21 said Sabah would celebrate Sabah Day to commemorate the day it became independent 60 years ago.
He said the state Cabinet made the decision and chose Tambunan as the venue for the celebration, with the programme to start at 3pm.