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Merdeka tribute for security forces

28 August 2013| last updated at 12:38AM

Merdeka tribute for security forces

PUTRAJAYA: This year’s Merdeka celebration will honour and commemorate those who defended the nation and instilled patriotism.

Read more: Merdeka tribute for security forces – Latest – New Straits Times

Communications and Multimedia Minister Datuk Seri Ahmad Shabery Cheek said the the 56th National Day procession promised to be different from previous years, in line with the theme “Malaysiaku Berdaulat: Tanah Tumpahnya Darahku”.

He said some 400 members of the security forces involved in “Op Daulat” and families of those killed during the Lahad Datu incursion would be special guests at the celebration.

The main Merdeka procession will take place in Dataran Merdeka, Kuala Lumpur, on Aug 31.

It would showcase military and police assets, involving 300 land and 30 airborne assets, said Shabery after a briefing on the celebration by the police and armed forces yesterday.

Communications and Multimedia Ministry secretary-general Datuk Seri Kamaruddin Siaraf, on the Malaysia Hari Ini programme on TV3 yesterday, said the showcase of military hardware was to show the people that the country would be defended in any eventuality.

“In the past, we focused on culture and understanding.

“This year we will stress on patriotism; that Malaysia is a sovereign country that we are prepared to defend to the last drop of blood.”

Kamaruddin, who is also the 56th National Day and 50th Malaysia Day Celebrations Committee chairman, said the celebration would also see a parade by 16,000 members of the security forces, as well as the recitation of the Rukun Negara by 56 Generation Y youngsters and human formations.

Merdeka eve will see the Putrajaya International Fireworks competition being carried out at the Putrajaya Maritime Centre.

“There will also be a concert featuring leading local artistes, while the prime minister will join the countdown to Merdeka.”

Kamaruddin said there would be more programmes held at the state-level celebrations to foster patroitism, such as a Merdeka speech competition, the decorating of houses and business premises and a video clip contest on how Malaysians celebrate the nation’s independence.

“These celebrations are to remind the people that independence did not come on its own, but instead, through our struggles and that the people should be vigilant in protecting the country’s independence.”

For the Malaysia Day celebration, Kamaruddin said the nation’s golden jubilee would be celebrated in the morning in Kuching and at night in Kota Kinabalu on Sept 16.

“Unlike previous years, when the celebrations were either held in Kuching or Kota Kinabalu, Malaysia Day this year will be held at both places on the same day.”

The celebration in Kuching will be attended by the Yang di-Pertuan Agong, while the prime minister will be present at the Kota Kinabalu celebration.

“In Kuching, there will be a regatta on Sungai Sarawak on the night of Sept 15, with a procession of decorated boats.”

Shabery lamented on the lack of patriotism among urban dwellers who failed to display the national flag during this month, which is Merdeka month.

He expressed disappointment in civil servants here who did not put up the Jalur Gemilang outside their quarters.

Shabery said the ministry would conduct a study into the reasons behind the lack of patriotism.

“Our neighbouring countries, despite having differences among themselves, could still come together to celebrate a symbolic national occasion.”

On the national anthem being played in cinemas, he said the move would be implemented between today and Sept 3.

Shabery will visit the Golden Screen Cinemas theatre in Pavillion Mall, Bukit Bintang, today to see the observance of the national anthem.

“It is a pilot project and we are hoping for a response to see whether we should continue playing Negaraku (in the theatres) in the future.”

On calls for a law to compel premises to fly the national flag throughout Merdeka month, he said the move would only be made as a last resort.

“We also want to know their background and why they do not want to sing Negaraku.”

Teratak Za’aba worker Rahin Surip decorating a tree with Jalur Gemilang in Batu Kikir, Negri Sembilan, yesterday. Pic by Salhani Ibrahim

Read more: Merdeka tribute for security forces – Latest – New Straits Times

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