By Karen Bong
KUCHING, Sept 11: The venue of the national-level Malaysia Day celebration on Sept 16, previously planned at Padang Merdeka, has been changed to the Indoor Stadium in Petra Jaya due to the prevailing haze in the state capital.
Themed ‘Sayangi Malaysiaku: Malaysia Bersih’, this year’s celebration is scheduled to start at 7pm.
Deputy Chief Minister Datuk Amar Awang Tengah Ali Hasan told a press conference, here, today, that the organising committee have decided to relocate the venue after being briefed by the Meteorological Department, Natural Resources and Environment Board (NREB) and the Department of Environment (DOE) on the haze situation.
“Major part of the preparations in Padang Merdeka have been done with progress of about 80 per cent. Many (involved in the celebration) are disappointed as they have been training for months as well.
“But we have no choice but to relocate the venue to the Indoor Stadium as we cannot put the health of attendees, guests and members of the public at risk in case the air quality worsened,” he said.
The federal goverment, he added, has been informed on the changes.
Awang Tengah emphasised that according to weather forecast, the haze problem is likely to persist until the end of September with hundreds of hot spots detected in Kalimantan at current.
“Worst, the wind direction is still moving towards Sarawak, thus it is not suitable that we hold the celebration at Padang Merdeka,” he explained.
Nevertheless, he assured that the Sarawak will still give its best to ensure that this Malaysia Day celebration will be a success.
He said that major events planned to ensure a colourful, meaningful and unforgettable celebration will proceed as planned, amid some have to be toned in smaller scale.
“We are proud and appreciative of their eagerness to perform and the commitment they have given to ensure the success of the event. They have planned what needed to be done despite a short time to make the adjustments,” he commended on efforts by participants.
“We have also told the secretariat to inform all guests and public on the change in venue.”
With regards to the parade of the six specially decorated vehicles that will narrate the journey of Malaysia from its formation in 1960 to a futuristic nation today, Awang Tengah said that it will proceed to allow the public to enjoy and admire the parade if the weather permits but the route has been changed.
“It will start from MBKS (headquarters) passing through Waterfront Kuching and ends at iCom Square. The parade is expected to start at 8pm until 9.30pm,” he added.
“All programmes and events taking place in the Indoor Stadium as well as in the outdoors can be viewed live on various media channels,” he continued.
Among the highlights of the celebration including beating of 300 drums show, shadow play themed ‘United we stand, divided we fall’, raising of Jalur Gemilang, Kembara Merdeka convoy, laser light show, mass silat performance, various cultural performances as well as singing and dancing stage performances.
Yang di-Pertua Negeri Tun Abdul Taib Mahmud and wife Toh Puan Raghad Kurdi Taib; Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad and wife Tun Dr Siti Hasmah; Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Dr Wan Azizah Wan Ismail; Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari Tun Openg and wife Datin Patinggi Juma’ani Tun Tuanku; Chief Ministers and Menteri Besar; federal and state ministers; as well as other dignitaries are expected to attend.
Assistant Minister of Transport Datuk Dr Jerip Susil, Assistant Minister of International trade and Industry, Industrial Terminal and Entrepreneur Development Datuk Naroden Majais and Deputy State Secretary Datuk Ik Pahon Joyik were present. — DayakDaily