PUTRAJAYA: Malaysians from near and far gathered in Putrajaya today to celebrate 66 years of independence and to reflect on the meaning of the historic day.
Four years have passed since the last Merdeka Day celebration was held in Putrajaya, but the number of spectators who packed the flanks of the parade show that the national spirit is still alive and well.
At a press conference, communications and digital minister Fahmi Fadzil said more than 100,000 people turned up in the administrative capital.
The event was attended by the Yang di-Pertuan Agong, Sultan Abdullah Sultan Ahmad Shah, and the Raja Permaisuri Agong, Tunku Azizah Aminah Maimunah Iskandariah, who were accompanied by Prime Minister Anwar Ibrahim and his wife, Dr Wan Azizah Wan Ismail.
For some, the value of the National Day celebration was worth the long drive.
Robin Gan, 51, came all the way from the southern tip of the peninsula, so he could teach his children what it means to be a Malaysian.
“I came all the way from Johor Bahru just to celebrate National Day. It is important as Malaysians to take part in government events so we can move forward.
“I purposely brought my children here so they can experience all races coming together,” he told FMT.
For others, National Day is an annual reminder of their national pride.
Elaya Kumaran, 45, said that after the prolonged absence of Merdeka Day festivities, the celebrations today helped him relive days long gone.
“After many years, I rekindled my childhood memories where the celebrations were good and there were people of different nationalities (mixing together).
“Merdeka means everything to us. I’m already getting goosebumps (just talking about it).”
He said the benefit of being a true Malaysian is feeling a sense of unity, regardless of race and culture, when the national anthem proudly plays.