Friday, August 28, 2009

Celebrations to be held on smaller scale to curb spread of flu

KUALA LUMPUR: For the first time since independence the National Day celebration will be held at the Parliament House compound to commemorate the country’s 52nd independence day.

Information, Communications and Culture Minister Datuk Seri Dr Rais Yatim announced that the celebration will be held on a smaller scale.

“One of the reasons why it will be held at the Parliament compound is to prevent the spread of the influenza A(H1N1).

Many parents, educationists and also the Education Ministry have advised against children taking part in the public celebration,” he told a press conference.

He added that the choice of venue was also changed from the Bukit Jalil National Stadium to the Parliament House compound in view of the Ramadan month.

“Therefore, the festivities will be held in moderation. Due to the lack of space in the Parliament House compound, the programme will be limited only to important elements such as performances reflecting the 1Malaysia concept.”

“We hope the rakyat will understand. They can still enjoy the celebration on TV. Hopefully next year’s Merdeka will be in its full glory.”

Dr Rais said there would not be any parade but about 7,000 participants would be lining up along the road from the Bank Negara roundabout to the Parliament House compound to usher in the Merdeka spirit.

Guests expected to attend the event, that is scheduled to start at 8am, include Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak, his deputy Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin, Cabinet members and former premiers Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad and Tun Abdullah Ahmad Badawi.

Among the events lined-up are the King’s address, dance formations symbolising the 1Malaysia concept, song performances, the Merdeka oath declaration and air shows by the air force, police and Malaysian Maritime Enforcement Agency.

“I would also like to encourage all Malaysians to fly the Jalur Gemilang as a symbol of our personal struggle in upholding the 1Malaysia that we all love. We do this not because of political reasons or religious beliefs but for the love of our country,” he said.

He added that Merdeka thanksgiving ceremonies will also be held simultaneously at separate places on Merdeka eve by the four major religions in the country – Islam, Christianity, Buddhism and Hinduism.

*Taken from The Star Online

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