PUTRAJAYA: After 13 years, the National Day celebration will once again be held at the administrative capital of Putrajaya.
The 61st National Day celebration will go down in history as the first ever held under the Pakatan Harapan government, led by Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad who returned to government this year as the seventh Prime Minister at age 93.
Dr Mahathir was the fourth prime minister from July 16, 1981 to Oct 31, 2003.
Putrajaya was the brainchild of Dr Mahathir and as such, its selection as this year’s venue adds a certain meaning to the celebration. The area was originally known as Prang Besar before it was developed into the administrative capital in 1995.
The National Day celebration was held in Putrajaya only twice before this – once in 2003 and again in 2005.
Pic by NSTP/ABD RAHIM RAHMAT
“Malaysians are riding high on the Malaysia Baru (New Malaysia) spirit so this year’s National Day celebration is one that is anticipated by many,” the Corporate Communications Director of Putrajaya (PPj) Tengku Aina Tengku Ismail Shah told Bernama.
To further enliven the celebration on Aug 31, Malaysians are encouraged to fly the Jalur Gemilang as a symbol of the love and pride for their nation.
PPj has put up 2,000 flags along the main roads in Putrajaya since mid-August and has also distributed some 3,000 flags among Putrajaya residents.
“The residents have not only put up the flags given but have also held gotong-royong events to spruce up their housing areas and decorate it with the Jalur Gemilang,” she said.
PPj has been put in charge of handling the logistics for the National Day parade and has begun preparations for the event as early as June, said Tengku Aina.
Pic by NSTP/ABD RAHIM RAHMAT
“We believe around 300,000 people will be coming down to Putrajaya for the celebration on Aug 31,” she said.
She advised those intending to join the celebrations to come down before 7am to avoid being stuck in traffic jams as several roads would be closed to make way for the celebration.
Road closures and traffic diversions have been implemented in stages since Sunday and will be in place until Aug 31. The roads affected include Laman Perdana, Persiaran Perdana, Lebuh Wawasan, Lebuh Saujana, Lebuh Bestari, Lebuh Setia, Jalan Perpaduan, Jambatan Wawasan, Jalan Pembangunan, Jalan Kemerdekaan and Jalan T. A. Rahman.
Around 6,000 parking lots have been availed for visitors and shuttle bus services are also available to ferry visitors from Putrajaya Sentral to the celebration venue.
Pic by NSTP/AHMAD IRHAM MOHD NOOR
This year’s parade will involve 12,714 participants, 25 dogs, 60 horses, 251 land assets and 54 air assets from the Royal Malaysia Police, the Malaysian Armed Forces and other agencies.
The contingent will march 3.2km along Persiaran Perdana from 8am.
The Kembara Merdeka Jalur Gemilang 2018 convoy, which was flagged off by Dr Mahathir in Padang Kota Lama, Penang on Aug 4 will also be arriving at Dataran Putrajaya this Friday. The convoy, comprising 133 participants and 52 vehicles, is currently touring across Malaysia.
Themed ‘Sayangi Malaysiaku’ (Love My Malaysia), the 2018 National Day celebration in Putrajaya will be graced by the presence of the Yang di-Pertuan Agong Sultan Muhammad V and will also be attended by the prime minister and other ministers. – BERNAMA © New Straits Times Press (M) Bhd