KUALA LUMPUR: The 2023 National Day Eve celebrations across the country were lively with crowds gathered in several locations to usher in Merdeka.
Prior to that, various programmes including stage performances and religious forums focused on empowering the spirit of patriotism and love for the country were held.
At the stroke of midnight, skies in several locations were lit up by fireworks, with visitors chanting ‘Merdeka’ enthusiastically.
The Malaysian National News Organisation (Bernama) did not miss out on the celebration, organising a Grand Stand Ambang 31@Bernama event at Wisma Bernama which was also attended by Bernama CEO Roslan Ariffin and Editor-in-Chief Jamaluddin Muhammad as well as Bernama staff and their family members.
The fireworks show and the performance of D’Parawood, which is Band 10 of the Para Brigade, were among the highlights of the celebration in addition to the Merdeka karaoke and recitation of patriotic poems and a choir performance from students of SMK Kepong Baru.
Meanwhile, Dataran Merdeka was thronged by about 15,000 visitors who chanted “Merdeka” seven times at the stroke of midnight, followed by the singing of ‘Negaraku’.
A five-minute fireworks show then lit up the sky of the capital, accompanied by the famous song ‘Tanggal 31 Ogos’ sung by the late Datuk Sudirman Arshad.
At the Kuala Lumpur City Centre (KLCC), visitors were mesmerised by the light show held at the Petronas Twin Towers while those in KLCC Park were graced with a rhythmic light-and-fountain show followed by a fireworks display at midnight.
In PUTRAJAYA, Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department (Religious Affairs) Datuk Dr Mohd Na’im Mokhtar joined a congregation of over 2,000 for Maghrib prayers, ‘Solat Hajat’ and ‘Doa Selamat’ led by the Imam of the Putra Mosque, Abdul Karim Zakaria at the Ambang Merdeka Forum organised by the Department of Islamic Development Malaysia (Jakim) yesterday.
Mohd Na’im in his speech said Muslims should be role models, highlight the nature of mercy, get rid of bigotry and translate the application of Fiqh Taáyush (co-existence) in daily life, to inculcate harmony within the pluralistic society in Malaysia.
In SELANGOR, the National Day celebration at the state level was lively with the presence of about 20,000 people at Dataran Kemerdekaan Shah Alam attended by Menteri Besar Amirudin Shari and the state government leadership.
The celebration began at about 4.45 pm with the recitation of Salawat and prayers led by Habib Ali Zaenal Abidin, followed by a parade comprising 66 contingents, which included government departments, private sector, school bands and special performances by uniformed personnel.
Amirudin also presented a special donation to the Selangor Armed Forces Veterans Association and the Selangor Ex-Police Association in addition to presenting the Selangor Independence Figure Award to the late Lieutenant Adnan Saidi.
In MELAKA, the state-level Merdeka eve celebration at the Ayer Keroh Square here tonight was graced with a ‘24 Season’ drum performance by students of SJKC Yok Bin.
Earlier, more than 30,000 visitors who began to gather at the square at 6 pm were treated to various performances, among them poetry recitations by school students and songs sung by Datuk Wan Aishah Wan Arifiin.
In JOHOR, about 2,500 locals participated in the Yassin and Tahlil reciation programme ahead of the 66th National Day celebration at the Johor state level held at the Jamek Al-Falah Mosque in Simpang Renggam, Kluang.
The ceremony, which was officiated by Johor Menteri Besar Datuk Onn Hafiz Ghazi and broadcast live via the Johor Islamic Religious Affairs Department’s Facebook page, began with congregational Maghrib prayers.
In PERAK, the state-level celebration held at the Sultan Azlan Shah Roundabout in Meru began at 8 pm, with about 10,000 people gathered.
The celebration, which was also attended by Menteri Besar Datuk Seri Saarani Mohamad and the state government’s exco line-up, featured dance performances, skits, poetry recitations, choirs, and songs by popular celebrities such as Haziq and Black Hanafiah.
In KEDAH, the Merdeka eve celebration held at Tasik Darulaman, Jitra tonight was lively, with Menteri Besar Datuk Seri Muhammad Sanusi Md Nor also present.
The public was also entertained with performances including martial arts and dances by the Malay, Chinese and Siamese communities as well as the recitation of the poem ‘Tanah Air’ and a singing performance by Ameng from the Spring group.
In KELANTAN, more than 5,000 visitors gathered at the Sultan Muhammad IV Stadium in Kota Bharu to witness 66 contingents taking part in the parade involving 2,310 participants.
Menteri Besar Datuk Nassuruddin Daud in his speech called on the people of Kelantan to maintain the blessings of independence by living harmoniously in a multi-racial community and having mutual respect for each other.
In TERENGGANU, the celebration held at Dataran Muara Utara of the Drawbridge in Kuala Terengganu began with a National Day-themed forum, followed by a string of patriotic songs sung by guest artistes.
Just before midnight, members of the 512 Territorial Army Regiment marched in carrying the Jalur Gemilang and the national flag was handed over by Menteri Besar Datuk Seri Dr Ahmad Samsuri Mokhtar to the Royal Malaysian Navy Reserve Force.
In SARAWAK, thousands of locals gathered at Dataran Pehin Setia Raja in Mukah, tonight for the Merdeka eve celebration and were treated to performances by Sarawak’s local artistes.
Also taking the stage were the Sri Ritma Borneo Mukah Dance Group, Sarawak P. Ramlee Fan Club and the Sarawak State Symphony Orchestra.
Sarawak Women, Children and Community Development Minister Datuk Seri Fatimah Abdullah, who is also the minister responsible for the National Day celebrations in Sarawak this year, was present at the event. –Bernama