KUALA LUMPUR, Sept 16 — The Keretapi Sarong programme should be expanded nationwide so that everyone can celebrate Malaysia Day in the future.

Tourism Malaysia Corporate Communications Division director Zakaria Mohd Nani said the programme, which features local sarong fashion, should make use of existing public transport systems in the country. 

“It is better if the programme can be brought out of the capital. That way, the public need not travel far to Kuala Lumpur to participate.

“For instance, rail lines are all over the country. So with the existing partnership, every rail station could be part of the programme,” he told Bernama here today.

As a new twist, this year’s programme was the first time it also took place in Ipoh, Perak at the Ipoh Keretapi Tanah Melayu Berhad (KTMB) railway station, with the assistance of Ipoh Social Club.

Zakaria said the programme was aimed to celebrate Malaysian culture by highlighting local fashions, heritage, and cities.

“Indirectly, we can witness Malaysian solidarity in celebrating Malaysia Day. We want them to feel proud of their own country,’ he said.

Over 5,000 participants, from all races and age groups, joined in this year’s programme at Pavilion, Bukit Bintang, today. The programme began simultaneously from seven stations, the Subang Jaya Light Rail Transit (LRT), Ampang LRT, Gombak LRT stations, and the Bandar Utama Mass Rail Transit (MRT), Kajang MRT stations, along with the KLIA Transit stations at KLIA and Putrajaya, as well as KL Sentral, before gathering in front of Pavillion shopping mall in Bukit Bintang.

Patriotic and traditional songs, including ‘Negaraku’, ‘Jalur Gemilang’, ‘Rasa Sayang’, ‘Dikir Puteri’, Enjit Enjit Semut’, ‘Lemak Manis’ and ‘Anak Tupai’ added to the festive atmosphere of the programme, which included a sarong fashion performance, flash mob, and joget lambak dances from the 60s and 70s.

Participant Mohd Faeez Harith, 32, from Persatuan Penggiat Seni Alam Melayu, said this year’s programme was much more vibrant after its two year hiatus due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

“This is the second time I’m participating, after the first in 2019. In this programme, everyone’s the same, no matter what our race and this instils patriotism in us,” he said.

Fellow participant, Rabiatul Adawiyah Abdul Rashid, 26, said the programme signified unity among races in the country.

“I admit that I’m very excited with such a programme, not only do we gather, go on a procession and sing together, but it’s a chance to showcase our local fashion,” she said.

The programme, managed by non-governmental organisation (NGO) LOCCO, began around 2014, and has involved thousands of participants using public transport while wearing sarongs or batik outfits or stickers that symbolise the multiracial heritage and culture in Malaysia.

This year, in addition to Tourism Malaysia, the programme is supported by the Transport Ministry and its agencies, including KTMB, Prasarana Berhad, MRT Corporation, ERL and Malaysia Airports Holdings Berhad.


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