Monday, August 31, 2009

aRTiCel 3

1Malaysia marks Merdeka spirit

KUALA LUMPUR: The pomp and pageantry might have been subdued, but the Merdeka spirit was roaring at the 52nd National Day celebration yesterday. For the first time, the national-level celebration was held at Parliament Square with the participation of a limited number of people due to the influenza A (H1N1) pandemic and the Ramadan month.

For the same reasons, the celebration was held on a moderate scale mostly indoors in the states. But, here too, the vibrant colors of Merdeka and the spirit of the participants could not be subdued. This year’s celebration was themed “1Malaysia: People First, Performance Now”.

The event at Parliament Square began at 8am with the arrival of Yang di-Pertuan Agong Tuanku Mizan Zainal Abidin and Raja Permaisuri Agong Tuanku Nur Zahirah. Also present were Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak and his wife Datin Seri Rosmah Mansor, and Deputy Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin and his wife Puan Sri Norainee Abdul Rahman.The event, which lasted about 30 minutes, was confined to a rally and performances, without the usual parade of contingents and the participation of schoolchildren.

Nevertheless, Parliament Square, which often serves as a venue for welcoming ceremonies for visiting foreign dignitaries, was a scene of variegated colour, with civilians in resplendent attire and members of the security forces in spick-and-span uniforms.

The arriving VIPs were greeted by about 10,000 cheering flagbearers lining the road from the roundabout near Bank Negara to Parliament Square. Tuanku Mizan took the royal salute upon arrival, followed by the playing of the national anthem, N e ga ra k u , by the Royal Malay Regiment central band. Seven helicopters of the Royal Malaysian Air Force flew past overhead, bearing the Jalur Gemilang, the armed forces flag, the flags of the army, navy and air force, the police flag and the Maritime Enforcement Agency flag, as they spewed smoke trails in red, blue and yellow.

Tuanku Mizan later inspected a guard of honour mounted by four officers and 103 men of the 1st Battalion Royal Malay Regiment.
The event continued with the raising of the Jalur Gemilang and the singing of Negaraku follwed by a gun salute and the recital of the Rukun Negara by seven teachers representing the main racial communities in the country.
This was followed by seven shouts of “Merdeka” and the 1Malaysia slogan. There was also choir singing, with the song Malaysia Tanah Airku rendered by members of the Association of Wives of Ministers and Deputy Ministers (Bakti).

Comment: From the articel, the first time, the 52nd National Day celebration in this year was held at Parliament Square with the participation of a limited number of people due to the influenza A (H1N1) pandemic and the Ramadan month. Before this, the national-level celebration was held at Dataran Merdeka every year.

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