Malaysia Day a platform for solidarity and integration
Nation awash with patriotism, national pride
AVILA GERALDINE KOTA KINABALU email@example.com
THOUSANDS of Jalur Gemilang and Sabah flags decorate roads in Likas here, greeting passersby as the nation celebrate the 54th Malaysia Day.
The long line of flags signifies how far Malaysians have come in maintaining unity and bringing about progress despite the many challenges over the years since Sept 16, 1963.
More than 30,000 people are expected to throng the Sports Complex in Likas today to commemorate the establishment of the Malaysian federation.
Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak is scheduled to attend the event which starts at 7pm.
He will be accompanied by his deputy, Datuk Seri Dr Ahmad Zahid Hamidi, Sabah Chief Minister Tan Sri Musa Aman and Sarawak Chief Minister Datuk Amar Abang Johari Tun Openg.
Sabah Yang di-Pertua Negeri Tun Juhar Mahiruddin will attend the event as the guest-ofhonour.
Throughout the evening visitors will be entertained by special dance and music performances.
Najib will deliver his message in conjunction with Malaysia Day, followed by a cake-cutting ceremony by Juhar, a flag-raising ceremony and fireworks.
Universiti Sains Malaysia political and sociology senior lecturer Prof Dr Sivamurugan Pandian described the event as an important platform in bringing integration and solidarity to Malaysians.
“Although we have big differences in terms of political and cultural beliefs, we must set that aside and celebrate togetherness in a high spirit.
“To build a nation is not easy but to break it, can be done in the blink of an eye.
“Therefore, we must understand the basis as to why we are celebrating Malaysia and work together towards maintaining peace,” he said.
Sivamurugan, who is a spokesman for Malaysia Day, hopes to see such events celebrated in other states, particularly in the peninsula.
Yesterday city folk started visiting the main venue for the celebration to join in activities lined up for the three-day carnival.
Forty-one government agencies and non-governmental organisations will host exhibition booths.
Ten mobile services will be provided by the courts, library, Election Commission, National Registration Department, Road Transport Department, Lembaga Tabung Haji and other agencies.
Communications and Multimedia Minister Datuk Salleh Said Keruak yesterday thanked the prime minister for gazetting Sept 16 as a national holiday.
“I urge all citizens in Kota Kinabalu and surrounding areas to join in the celebration.
“For those who cannot make it, there will be a live telecast by RTM,” he added.
Kota Kinabalu City Hall will also be providinga free bus service between KK Sentral and the Sports Complex between 5pm and 11pm today.
Mayor Datuk Yeo Boon Hai said those who wished to use the bus service could park their cars at KK Sentral multistorey car park for free.
He also took note of complaints regarding the noise endured by residents living near the main venue due to the preparations for the celebration.
“We hope they will tolerate it as Malaysia Day is a celebration that we should all be proud of,” he said.
Prof Dr Sivamurugan Pandian