By Aemy Azlena
His Majesty the Sultan and Yang Di-Pertuan of Brunei Darussalam on Friday night consented to attend the Grand Celebration commemorating the 50th Anniversary of the Independence of Malaysia.
Also attending the celebration were Her Majesty Raja Isteri Pengiran Anak Hjh Saleha and Her Royal Highness Pengiran Isteri Azrinaz Mazhar.
On hand to welcome them at Merdeka Stadium were the Prime Minister of Malaysia Datuk Seri Abdullah Hj Ahmad Badawi, Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak and Datuk Seri Utama Dr Rais Yatim, the Minister of Culture, Arts and Heritage.
HRH Prince Abdul Malik and HRH Princess Hjh Masna were also among those attending the grand event in Kuala Lumpur.
Malaysian Premier Abdullah gave a rousing and passionate speech during the celebrations when thousands upon thousands of Malaysians and visitors filled the Merdeka Stadium with a countless number of performers marking 50 years of Independence.
Merdeka Stadium was picked for its historical significance, being the original venue where YTM Tunku Abdul Rahman Putra Al-Haj, the first Prime Minister of Malaysia, made the Proclamation of Independence on August 31, 1957.
Also present were His Majesty Yang Di-Pertuan Agong of Malaysia Tuanku Mizan Zainal Abidin and Her Majesty Raja Permaisuri Agong Tuanku Nur Zahirah.
Among the dignitaries were the leaders of Thailand, Singapore, the Philippines, Laos, Vietnam and Cambodia.
The curtain-raiser "Sekapur Sirih" was executed by 500 dancers from Kuala Lumpur and Selangor, KL City Hall, the Cultural and National Museum of Fine Arts group and the Royal Malaysian Police.
The night saw patriotic songs such as "Malaysiaku Gemilang" performed by a choir numbering as many as 5,000 youths. In the central theme, amazingly choreographed field performances showcased the contributions of the country's past four premiers and present Premier Abdullah in leading the country towards excellence.
The story of each premier began with a holographic shot of previous speeches while performances showcased aspects of the development reached by each.
Tun Abdul Razak's era of leadership brought forth an agriculture-themed show by 1,000 primary school students alongside heavy machinery such as a farming tractors and a lorry for the economic significance of the time.
Then came the era of Tun Hussein Onn where 2,000 secondary students performed along with lion dancers.
Dr Mahathir Mohamed's era was highlighted with a 770-strong brass band from 13 schools in Klang Valley in a performance interspersed with the Proton national car and Perodua and Modenas.
Finally, the era of present Premier Abdullah was represented with 1,500 people synchronised in formations, human pyramids and logos.
The evening came to a colourful conclusion with 6,000 performers taking part in a 'Joget Malaysia'.
The celebrations ended with a grand fireworks display.
- Borneo Bulletin
(2nd September 2007)