'Overwhelming' crowd in Kuala Lumpur for return of Malaysia's National Day celebrations

More than 100,000 visitors are estimated to have joined in the celebrations, after a two-year hiatus due to Covid-19. PHOTO: REUTERS

KUALA LUMPUR (THE STAR/ASIA NEWS NETWORK) - Malaysia's National Day parade made a triumphant comeback to Dataran Merdeka in capital Kuala Lumpur on Wednesday (Aug 31) after a two-year hiatus, with more than 100,000 visitors estimated to have joined in the celebrations.

Communications and Multimedia Minister Tan Sri Annuar Musa said the overwhelming response from Malaysians far surpassed initial expectations.

He also said the parades and performances ran smoothly, with over 20,000 participants taking part in the show.

"It has been two years since this event was held. There was an overwhelming response from the people, who gathered here even as early as the night before the parade.

"The feel-good factor and the Keluarga (family) Malaysia themed celebration received great response from the people.

"I think maybe there were 100,000 visitors watching the parade, there was no empty space at all.

"Everything ran smoothly even though there was a little congestion due to the unexpected crowd," Mr Annuar told reporters after the celebrations.

He said the King, Sultan Abdullah Ahmad Shah and the Queen also conveyed their appreciation when watching the parade performances.

Prime Minister Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob and his wife Datin Seri Muhaini Zainal Abidin also conveyed the same sentiments, said Mr Annuar.

The National Day parade kicked off celebrations in Kuala Lumpur at 7am, the first time since 2019 because of the Covid-19 pandemic.

Police said at least four drones that were flown illegally close to the parade celebrations in Dataran Merdeka were shot down on Wednesday.

Bukit Aman Air Operation officer Muhammad Faiz Shahabudin said the drone owners would be investigated and action will be taken against them.

"We're here today to ensure that no private drones were flown around the event area.

"Any drones flown without a permit will be shot down and action taken against (their owners) by the Civil Aviation Authority of Malaysia," he told Malaysian daily The Star.

CAAM said on Monday that drones would be banned to avoid incidents that would affect public safety or increase the risk of accidents involving Royal Malaysian Air Force aircraft flying in low formation during the parade.

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