Malaysians turn out in droves to enliven 66th National Day celebration
PUTRAJAYA - The Jalur Gemilang flew majestically as thousands of people from all walks of life rekindled their spirit of patriotism at Dataran Putrajaya here today to express their love for the nation on Malaysia’s 66th National Day with bursting pride and colours.
The early morning peace and tranquility were broken as early as 1 am when the sea of people flocked to every corner of the square where the historic event is being held today.
The theme '‘Malaysia MADANI: Tekad Perpaduan, Penuhi Harapan’ (Determination in Unity, Fulfiling Hope) is apt with the framework of the new vision for Malaysia MADANI, which is supported by the Unity Government and is seen as being capable of boosting the spirit of unity that has long existed among Malaysians.
Dignitaries and national leaders started to arrive at 7.30 am, followed by the Yang di-Pertuan Agong, Al-Sultan Abdullah Ri'ayatuddin Al-Mustafa Billah Shah and the Raja Permaisuri Agong, Tunku Azizah Aminah Maimunah Iskandariah who waved at the crowd and was greeted by loud cheers.
As soon as Al-Sultan Abdullah and Tunku Azizah took their place at the royal box, five helicopters - three Airbus H225M (EC 725) helicopters, AgustaWestland AW109 (Agusta A109) and Maritime Operations Helicopter (HOM) AW 139 - did a fly-past accompanied by the national anthem ‘Negaraku’.
His Majesty was then given the Royal Salute and invited to inspect the Guard of Honour mounted by four officers and 103 members of the First Battalion of the Royal Malay Regiment, led by Major Mohd Ridhwan Mohd Asri.
Dataran Putrajaya, which last hosted the historic celebration in 2019, resounded to the beating of drums and three chants of ‘Malaysia MADANI’ to mark the arrival of Prime Minister Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim.
Apart from the prime minister, the two Deputy Prime Ministers - Datuk Seri Dr Ahmad Zahid Hamidi and Datuk Seri Fadillah Yusof - as well as Cabinet ministers, including Communications and Digital Minister Fahmi Fadzil, diplomats, foreign delegates and dignitaries attended the National Day 2023 celebration.
In a move to promote Malaysia’s batik heritage, the Cabinet Ministers and guests of honour wore special batik attire patterned with the hibiscus flower and Harimau Malaya stripes designed by Kraftangan Malaysia.
The event which involved 17,262 participants, 67 contingents, 36 brass bands, 534 land and air assets and 100 animals in service, was also broadcast and followed by millions of Malaysians live through television and social media sites.
The National Day 2023 celebration started off with singing the national anthem and then the hoisting of the Jalur Gemilang, which was accompanied by a 14-gun salute, symbolising the 14 states in Malaysia, by Unit 41 Battery of the Royal Artillery Regiment led by Lt Col Mohamad Asri Che Wil.
The event would not be complete without the recitation of the 'Rukun Negara' pledge and sports icon Muhammad Haikal Roslan, who is the under-25 gold medalist in the 12th Asian Bowls Championship 2023, was given the role to lead the 66 pledge recitors of various races, highlighting the element of unity.
Even more special was the fact that 36 of them recited the pledge using sign language and this was followed by seven chants of Merdeka.
Enlivening the celebratory mood, the audience was treated to a performance of the theme song entitled 'Tekad Perpaduan, Penuhi Harapan' written by Affan Mazlan and composed by Datuk Mokhzani Ismail, while 1,500 schoolchildren from the Klang Valley made human formations, waving colourful flags in sync with the song.
For the unity and well-being segment, the audience was treated to a new rendition of the song 'Kurik Kundi' sung by several artistes namely Nadeera Zaini, representing the Malays in the peninsula, Suki Low (Chinese), Roshini Balachandran (Indians), Zizi Kirana (Sabahans) and Hazraniza Dollah (Sarawakians) signifying the unification of the people.
The focus then shifted to the performance of the Army's Motorcycle Acrobatics team - the Army Red Warrior - which featured a stunt by Sergeant Saidatul Husna Kamaruddin using a 250cc Kawasaki Scrambler with the 66 Royal Enfield motorcycles representing the country's 66 years of independence.
Cheers and applause rang out for the birthday girl who also received a standing ovation from the Royal Couple.
The challenge and agility segment highlighted the skills of the Royal Malaysia Police's elite squad the VAT 69 Commando Unit in performing a precision jump from a height of 4,000 metres, and succcesfully landing in front of the main tent despite the slippery road surface following the rain early this morning.
A special 'Gegar MADANI' performance was also enlivened by about 800 dancers and 600 school children moving to the beat and rhythm of 400 drummers of various ethnicities.
This year's National Day celebration parade featured contingents of Nationalism; Malaysia MADANI Unity; Economics; Banking; Telecommunications; Creative and Broadcasting Industries; National Sports; Welfare and National Security.
Leading the nationalism contingent was the Army Music Training Centre's (PUZIDA) band parade followed by 100 cadet officers of the Military Training Academy of Universiti Pertahanan Nasional Malaysia (UPNM) carrying a 24.4 metre x 12.2 metre Jalur Gemilang, and a parade of 334 national flag bearers.
The Malaysia MADANI Unity contingent followed suit, consisting of 400 participants of various races and ethnicities in Peninsular Malaysia, Sabah and Sarawak donning colourful traditional costumes. They were led by the National Unity Ministry deputy secretary-general Mohamad Sobri Mat Daud.
The economy contingent was represented by personnel of the various government-linked agencies (GLC), government-linked investment companies (GLIC) and leading corporate entities that play a role in driving the economy including Petronas, DRB HICOM and FGV Holdings Bhd.
The Investment, Trade and Industry Ministry paraded electric vehicle models such as Proton X90 Hybrid, Perodua Ativa Hybrid, GWM Ora Good Cat and Tesla Model Y Performance to reflect the government's commitment to developing the country's automotive industry including electric vehicles and components.
The characters from Malaysia's much-loved animated series including Mechamato, Ejen Ali, Boboiboy and Didi were in their element as they were part of the creative industry and broadcast contingent, while Agrobank participants paraded in 30 antique cars.
Athletes who have brought honour to the country in various international sporting events also took part in the historic parade.
As the parade contingents marched in front of the royal box, they were cheered on by the King and Queen who waved the Jalur Gemilang along with other honoured guests.
The Fire and Rescue Department featured a range of its assets and machinery including antiquated fire engines like the Dennis and Land Rover fire trucks that were used in the 1950s.
Inspector-General of Police Tan Sri Razarudin Husain led the national security contingent, followed by the Cavalry Unit along with senior officers riding on more than 50 horses of various breeds such as the Arabian, Warmblood and Polo, among others.
The Royal Couple also took out their mobile phones to record Razarudin in action as he rode by the royal box.
The Malaysian Armed Forces (MAF) contingent which is the largest contingent, as usual, did not disappoint. More than 100 advanced military assets from the Army, Royal Malaysian Navy (RMN) and Royal Malaysian Air Force (RMAF) were showcased including a trailer carrying missiles and cannons and the Gempita and Adnan armoured vehicles.
Fifty assets of the MAF dominated the Putrajaya air space in a show led by RMAF such as the Sukhoi Su-30MKM, F/A-18D Hornet and BAE Hawk fighter jets; transport aircraft like the A400M and C130 Hercules as well as helicopters belonging to the Army and RMN.
The spectators were also wowed by the air formation of 25 helicopters showcasing the capabilities and preparedness of the national security forces.
The brave acts of the fighter pilots during the thrilling air show were also telecast live via Radio Television Malaysia (RTM)
The theme song, 'Malaysia MADANI' as well as 'Jalur Gemilang' were performed by rock band Bunkface, accompanied by the performers from the National Department for Culture and Arts, Prisons Department and Istana Budaya concluded the captivating National Day 2023 parade. - BERNAMA