MIRI: The stage is all set for Miri City, the country’s first non-capital town being elevated to city status in 2005, to welcome thousands of visitors to celebrate the national-level 51st Malaysia Day celebration.
This time around, the celebration to be held at the Miri City Fan – a popular fan-shaped recreational park and tourism spot located in the heart of the city – is expected to be the grandest ever.
It will be grander than before, thanks to the week-long school holidays which began last Friday, as it will see a drastic increase in the volume of visitors, including those from oil-rich Brunei, about three-hours’ drive on the road from the city centre.
For local community leaders here like Dayak Association Miri (DAM) president Serawa Budol, the first-ever national level Malaysia Day celebration here would be the moment that she and others had anxiously been waiting for.
“We are very honoured that Malaysia Day is so special to us, Sarawakians, we have assigned 50 DAM members to take part in Tuesday night’s celebrations. We wish to send more but the organiser has set a maximum of 50 people,” she told Bernama here yesterday.
The soft-spoken Serawa suggested that in future, the main organiser would set aside more financial allocation, including getting sponsors from multinational companies like Shell and Petronas to chip in to ensure that people from all walks of life could appreciate the true meaning of Malaysia formation.
“There is room for improvement, maybe next year. In the run-up to Malaysia Day, the organiser can ask big companies to sponsor big billboards that depict historical pictures that led to the Malaysia Day formation so that the people will understand the history, especially the young generation,” she noted.
She proposed the Malaysia Day celebration be a mix of patriotism and carnival-like approach, like a festive season, especially at night by installing more decorative lights at main roads and recreational parks to highlight the unique cultures of this nation.
Miri Jati Mierek Association president Datuk Abdillah Abdul Rahim shared similar sentiments by suggesting that for next year’s celebration, focus should be on more efforts to create awareness of the formation of Malaysia, especially to generate interest among the younger generation.
Meanwhile, Miri City mayor Lawrence Lai said the countdown for Malaysia Day would kick-off tonight, beginning with ‘916 Malaysia Day Countdown’, with Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Tan Sri Adenan Satem among the 20,000-strong crowd.