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Malaysians show strong patriotism for 57th National Day celebrations

Malaysians from all walks of life recovered from the twin tragedies of Malaysia Airlines (MAS) flight MH17 and MH370 when they demonstrated strong patriotic spirit to celebrate the 57th anniversary of the country's independence at the Merdeka Square.

KUALA LUMPUR: Malaysians from all walks of life recovered from the twin tragedies of Malaysia Airlines (MAS) flight MH17 and MH370 when they demonstrated strong patriotic spirit to celebrate the 57th anniversary of the country's independence at the Merdeka Square.

Together they united with more than 14,000 people joining the parade in a show of love for the country at the square where the Union Jack was taken down and replaced with the national flag now known as the Jalur Gemilang, in place of the British flag. Unity was also displayed through a march past by 23 contingents from government departments and agencies, private sector and security personnel, as well as lively field performances.

The Merdeka parade began promptly at 8.05am, after the arrival of Malaysia’s King Abdul Halim Mu'adzam Shah and Queen Haminah Hamidun. Prime Minister Najib Razak and wife Rosmah Mansor, Deputy Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin and wife Noorainee Abdul Rahman as well as cabinet members and heads of foreign missions were also present to watch the parade and two hours of exhilarating performances.


Malaysians hold a giant national flag during the 57th National Day celebrations at Merdeka Square in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. (AP/Lai Seng Sin)

At 8.15am, the national anthem Negaraku (my country) was sung to the sound of 14 rounds of artillery fire followed by the pledge read by 57 participants comprising school students, undergraduates and civil servants. Those present also observed a minute of silence in remembrance of those warriors who had sacrificed their lives in the past.

King Abdul Halim also inspected the Guard of Honour made up of 107 officers and personnel from the 1st Battalion of the Royal Malay Regiment from the Sungai Besi Camp, led by Major Ameiza Mohd Ashhari. At the same time, there was a flypast by five helicopters from the Royal Malaysia Air Force (RMAF) carrying the national flag.

What was obvious during the event was the participation of thousands of youths in the field performances after tirelessly training to ensure flawless execution. Responsibilities such as reading the pledge and carrying the giant Jalur Gemilang flag were also entrusted to the youths.


Malaysian students perform during the 57th National Day celebrations at Merdeka Square in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. (AP/Lai Seng Sin)

The pledge reading by a group of 57 pledge readers was led by a student from Sekolah Sultan Alam Shah in Putrajaya, Ahmad Amsyar Ahmad Afendi, who then led the crowd in shouting “Merdeka" seven times.

Throughout the ceremony, a zeppelin bearing the image of the Father of Independence Abdul Rahman Putra Al-Haj hovered in the air space at Merdeka Square along with four drones. A high-tech camera was installed on the zeppelin, allowing the bird's-eye view on the event to be broadcasted onto the giant screen at the square for all to see, as well as for use by TV stations.

A total of 2,280 choir members and 2,240 were involved in the field performances, which coloured the celebrations with various unique formations of words and logos.  

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