Anwar to join 40,000 revelers to usher in Merdeka Day at i-City

DAWN CHAN

Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim will return to i-City for the third time on Thursday to mark the 61st Merdeka Day celebrations, some 21 years after he officiated the now bustling tourist attraction.

Back in 1997, Anwar who was then the deputy prime minister, performed the groundbreaking ceremony of i-City.

Some two years before, he had attended the Russian Aerospace Exhibition at the same location.

Described as a homecoming of sorts, Anwar, as the event’s guest of honour, will join some 40,000 revelers as they take part in various activities lined up for the night which will end with a Merdeka countdown and a five-minute fireworks display.

i-Berhad marketing director Monica Ong said the celebrations this year will be extra special as there will be the releasing of sky lanterns as well as enactment of the proclamation of independence by the late Tunku Abdul Rahman in 1957.

“These two events are the highlights of the night. The sky lanterns will be provided for free to our visitors where they can write their wishes on it before releasing them into the sky.

“The depiction of Tunku Abdul Rahman declaring independence at Dataran Merdeka in 1957 will be renacted at Red Carpet 2, Malaysia’s first home grown interactive wax museum. This is our way to foster the sense of national unity and share our country’s rich and proud history.

“This will make the Merdeka celebrations more meaningful especially for young families to relate to their children the history of independence. This is an educational platform that one cannot experience elsewhere. We are expecting double the crowd compared to last year,” said Ong at a press conference at i-Gallery today.

It was also attended by the event’s organising committee members Tan Sri Lau Ban Tin, Datuk Peter Tan and Tan Hai Hsin.

Ong said the crowd will be entertained all night long with a street parade multicultural performances by 300 dancers from Soka Gakkai, lion and dragon dance, dikir barat, face painting, street magicians, clowns and balloon sculpting. There will be free rides on the 88-seat 2-tier Carousel, entries into Trick Art Museum and House of Horror as well as plenty of picture opportunities at the City of Digital Lights and the Rose Garden.

Ong said there were 13,000 car parks available and she encouraged party goers to take public transport or car pool to the venue.

The celebrations themed ‘Terima Kasih Malaysia’ will kickstart at 8pm. © New Straits Times Press (M) Bhd