PUTRAJAYA • Malaysia held a grand celebration yesterday to mark the 62nd anniversary of the country's independence, flagging off a parade with the raising of the national flag and a gun salute.
Malaysia's King Sultan Abdullah Sultan Ahmad Shah officiated at the parade in the administration centre of Putrajaya, joined by Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad and members of his Cabinet.
Tun Dr Mahathir's arrival at 7.50am was greeted with rousing applause, with the 94-year-old delighting the crowd as he drove a maroon Proton Saga to the main stage. Proton is Dr Mahathir's brainchild and Malaysia's first national car project.
More than 14,000 people were involved in the 2019 National Day parade themed "A Clean Malaysia", in line with the government's efforts to combat corruption and instil values of integrity and good governance nationwide.
The parade included 34 contingents from the police and the three branches of the Malaysian Defence Forces, as well as several government ministries and civil society and student groups, according to the Information Department.
The Malaysian Air Force performed a fly-past and aerobatic show involving its fighter jets. The airspace near Kuala Lumpur International Airport, located near Putrajaya, was temporarily closed to facilitate the performance.
In a speech delivered on Friday evening ahead of the National Day celebrations, Dr Mahathir urged his countrymen to unite to make Malaysia a prosperous, dignified and independent nation.
"The Vision of Mutual Prosperity is an effort to make Malaysia a country that is constantly developing along with fair and inclusive economic distribution at every level of the value chain, class, race and geography to create a sense of place, harmony and stability among the people through 2030," he said.
"It is being done with the objective of making Malaysia greater and one of the important economic axes in Asia."
On Aug 31, 1957, the then Federation of Malaya achieved independence. In 1963, it was reconstituted as Malaysia after it was joined by Singapore, North Borneo (renamed as Sabah) and Sarawak.
Singapore withdrew from Malaysia and declared independence two years later.
XINHUA, THE STAR/ASIA NEWS NETWORK