JOHOR BARU, Aug 20 — Despite facing challenges and with only a small budget this year, odd-job worker Ragu Rajamani kick-started his fifth Merdeka Day walk to Perlis from here today.
The 43-year-old from Ipoh, Perak, has been making his patriotic journey with his family five times since 2010 as their personal celebration to mark National Day where they also carry the Jalur Gemilang throughout the journey.
For this year, Ragu will walk with his son Surya, 13. The father-and-son team are expected to cover about 1,400km in a span of 26 days.
“For this year, my walk is themed ‘Sayangi Malaysiaku’ and is not much different from the previous ones. The only thing missing is my family participation as this time round it will be me and my son walking the distance.
“The walk will see us traverse Johor, Melaka, Negri Sembilan, Selangor, Perak, Penang, Kedah and also Perlis,” said Ragu, when met by Malay Mail at Danga Bay here today.
Ragu and his son started their walk from the Danga Bay police station and is expected to reach Kuala Perlis in Perlis only after Merdeka Day.
The pair, who trained for the event for the past three months, will then walk back from Kuala Perlis to Ipoh in time for the Malaysia Day celebrations on September 16.
Ragu said September 16 was meaningful for him and his family as it is his daughter Nithya Rubhini’s birthday.
“It was Nithya that encouraged me and my family to participate on our first Merdeka Day walk back in 2010.
“She was born on Malaysia Day in 1999 and I plan to be back in Ipoh with Surya to celebrate her birthday by then,” he said.
Ragu, a father of three, said he had never gave up on walking the distance during the days leading up to Merdeka Day.
“This is my fifth effort since 2010. For me, what I am doing is to promote our patriotic spirit for our beloved nation,” he said.
Ragu said his budget for this year, including preparations, was about RM20,000 that were mainly from family and friends.
He said it was lower compared to previous years as this year it was only his son accompanying him.
“I will also have a donation drive at our stops for those keen to contribute to our journey.
“The additional money after our journey will be channelled to the government’s Tabung Harapan fund,” said Ragu, adding that his family welcomes any form of contribution.
He appealed to any non-governmental organisations (NGO) who are keen to assist his journey to contact: 016-590 5585 (Ragu).