By M K Anwar
The historic day for Malaysia has dawned. Today the country will celebrate the grand 50th Merdeka and His Majesty the Sultan and Yang Di-Pertuan of Brunei Darussalam and Her Majesty Raja Isteri Pg Anak Hjh Saleha are in the Malaysian capital for the momentous occasion.
Britain's Prince Andrew and prime ministers of Thailand, Singapore, the Philippines, Laos, Vietnam and Cambodia are also in Kuala Lumpur for the celebration.
Several events have been lined up for this historical event and some began yesterday including prayers from all faiths held across the country seeking continued prosperity and peace.
The Yang Di-Pertuan Agong of Malaysia, Tuanku Mizan Zainal Abidin, Malaysian Prime Minister Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi and his Deputy Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak attended a tahlil ceremony at the National Mosque.
At the same time, people from other religions such as Christians, Buddhist, Taoist, Hindus and Sikhs held prayers at their respective places of worship.
Re-enacting the day when the Malaysian flag was hoisted in 1957, thousands gathered at the Independence Square or Dataran Merdeka midnight in the heart of Kuala Lumpur.
Pos Malaysia, meanwhile, issued commemorative stamps and first day covers to mark the event. Malaysia's Deputy Arts, Culture and Heritage Minister, Datuk Wong Kam Hoong launched the stamps and first day covers yesterday.
The designs on the new stamps include various images of Malaysian landmarks such as the Dataran Merdeka, Parliament Building, the National Monument, the Sultan Abdul Samad building, the Petronas Twin Towers, Putrajaya and the Pulau Pinang bridge.
His Majesty the Sultan and Yang Di-Pertuan of Brunei Darussalam and other regional leaders will be witnessing the national day parade today. More than 24,000 people will be taking part in the parade and field activities.
Several armoured vehicles from the Malaysian Armed Forces will be taking part in the parade together with several decorative floats representing the public and private sectors.
The Royal Malaysian Air Force will also be showcasing its hardware including acrobatic displays.
The celebration will continue in the evening with the majestic Independence Celebration performance at Stadium Merdeka involving nearly 50,000 performers.
In conjunction with the historic event, Malaysia's Tourism Ministry and Defence Ministry will be co-organising the inaugural Kuala Lumpur International Tattoo Show at the Merdeka Stadium from September 7 to 9.
Royal Brunei Armed Forces band is scheduled to perform at the multi-million-dollar event with other military bands from 12 countries.
- Borneo Bulletin
(31st August 2007)