KUALA LUMPUR, Aug 30  — This year’s National Day countdown was held in a completely different way under the new normal due to the COVID-19 pandemic, but the Merdeka spirit was still just as apparent.

Dataran Merdeka, a historic location often thronged by thousands of city dwellers to celebrate the eve of the National Day, was quiet without people counting the seconds to midnight, fireworks display or performances from popular artistes.

And only a few states staged events to usher in the 63rd National Day, though the proceedings were conducted in compliance with the standard operating procedure (SOP), including limiting the number of visitors.

However, the appreciation of the meaning of independence was translated in different ways, including through the #MomenNegaraku campaign, an initiative of the Ministry of Communications and Multimedia, where people were encouraged to share and upload creative works such as videos, photos, speeches, texts, songs, acting scenes, and even unique dances by expressing the national spirit through social media.

Radio Televisyen Malaysia (RTM) also broadcast live a special concert, ‘Kita Merdeka 1957 2020’ at the Auditorium Perdana, Angkasapuri on RTM1 and MyKlik starting at 10.30 pm.

The concert featured performances from local artistes including Datuk Jamal Abdillah, Wany Hasrita, Haqiem Rusli as well as Kugiran Masdo and Bunkface bands.

The countdown to the National Day was participated by frontliners as well as Communications and Multimedia Minister Datuk Saifuddin Abdullah, Deputy Minister Datuk Zahidi Zainul Abidin and ministry secretary-general Datuk Suriani Ahmad.

In PERLIS, the Merdeka eve celebration at the Wawasan Hall, Kangar was limited to 150 guests who were required to wear face masks and undergo a body temperature screening before being allowed to enter the hall.

The Raja of Perlis, Tuanku Syed Sirajuddin Putra Jamalullail, and the Raja Perempuan of Perlis, Tuanku Tengku Fauziah Tengku Abdul Rashid, attended the event, which was filled with cultural performances, a dinner and a speech from Perlis Menteri Besar Datuk Seri Azlan Man.

In SARAWAK, the countdown was celebrated modestly at a hotel in Sri Aman with the presence of only 250 guests, enlivened with performances by members of the Sarawak Arts Council.

Sarawak Yang Dipertua Negeri Tun Abdul Taib Mahmud and his wife Toh Puan Raghad Kurdi Taib were the guests of honour. Also present were Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari Tun Openg, state ministers, heads of government departments and community leaders.

In TERENGGANU, no official celebration was held but a lively atmosphere could be seen at the Drawbridge, Kuala Terengganu when the bridge management cooperated with the Malaysian Maritime Enforcement Agency (MMEA) to hold an exhibition and exercise tonight.

During the event, the bascule bridge was opened to allow the Bagahak and Gemia Maritime Vessels to pass the state’s iconic bridge along the estuary of Sungai Terengganu.


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