JOHOR BARU, March 9 — More than 250,000 people turned-up at the city centre here last night for this year’s annual Johor Baru Chingay Parade 2018.
The main roads leading to Jalan Wong Ah Fook, where the main highlight of the parade was held, saw a sea of people arriving from as early as 7pm to witness the parade.
This year was the 148th edition of the Johor Baru Chingay parade. Traditionally, the parade marks the end of the Lunar New Year celebration for the Chinese community.
For Johor Baru, the annual parade, held yearly on the 21st day of the Lunar New Year, has also been a way to foster unity among the various main Chinese dialect groups in the city centre.
Considered as one of the oldest processions in Malaysia, the Johor Baru Chingay parade has been held for more than a century.
Jointly organised by the five main dialect groups in Johor Baru — Teochew, Hokkien, Cantonese, Hakka and Hainan — the parade will see their respective deities being taken on a 7.8km parade from the city’s Ancient Temple.
Building contractor and Johor Baru resident James Chow, 39, this year was the second consecutive year that he and his wife attend the annual parade.
“For me the Johor Baru Chingay parade is a unique cultural event that showcases Malaysia’s diverse cultural background.
“Despite the massive crowd and parking problems, I don’t mind coming as it’s a once-a-year event for me,” he said when met along Jalan Wong Ah Fook.
Civil servant Farhan Ilyias, 29, said the Johor Baru Chingay parade was unique in the sense that not all states host such a cultural parade in a big way.
“I am originally from Kedah that does not have a large scale event like this. When I was first posted to Johor Baru back in 2012, the parade was among one of the main Chinese cultural events that I remembered till today,” he said.
Sultan of Johor, Sultan Ibrahim Sultan Iskandar, who consented to officiate the event as the guest-of-honour, arrived at Komtar JBCC’s venue stage at 8.30pm last night.
The ruler, who has attended the annual event consecutively for the third time, was joined by Johor Mentri Besar Datuk Seri Mohamed Nordin, Johor Tourism, Domestic Trade and Consumerism Committee chairman Datuk Tee Siew Kiong and also Johor Baru Tiong-Hua Association president Datuk Seri Tey Kim Chai.
The 148th edition parade saw the participation of five temples and 50 floats moving for 10km from the Ancient Temple in Jalan Trus, passing through Xing Hong Temple in Jalan Ulu Air Molek and ending at Jalan Wong Ah Fook in the city centre.