Tuesday January 1, 2013
Ringing in 2013 with a bang
KUALA LUMPUR: Malaysians around the country welcomed the New Year with a big bang, cramming the streets and the hotspots to ring in Jan 1.
In Dataran Merdeka, hundreds of thousands thronged the square which was lit up in a multitude of colours to welcome the New Year.
At the stroke of midnight, a 10-minute fireworks show lighted up the night sky as several hundreds of people danced in celebration.
Right before the countdown began, the audience was also shown a short video clip of Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak's New Year message.
“Our future and that of the country are too important to be gambled upon. It's our responsibility to ensure that Malaysia continues to go forward in tandem with our philosophy of putting the rakyat first,” he said.
Earlier, decked in colourful headgear and blaring vuvuzelas, the crowd soaked in the festive atmosphere by checking out the many booths set up beside the field.
Couple Azmi Dahanan, 41, and Norma Aisya Muhammad, 27, stood out from the rest with their two white Himalayan Persian cats.
“Their names are Meimei and Muazza. Meimei is actually a Chinese name because we have many Chinese friends and they always call her mei mei (meaning beautiful in Mandarin).
“We bring them everywhere. We have even brought them to the disco and Suria KLCC. They are so beautiful that strangers just can't help stopping to ask about them,” said Norma Aisya, expressing her hope that Malaysia would continue to develop and prosper in the New Year.
The crowds were also attracted to a group of people, wearing a lighted box on their heads with the letters Kolumpo, a Kuala Lumpur-based film to be released this year.
Its director Sheikh Munasar, 29, said he and his friends seized the chance to promote the film during the New Year celebrations.
Two youths were also seen fastening a red, white and yellow flag to a few balloons before letting them go near the Masjid Jamek LRT station.
Towering head and heels above the crowd were several men on sky runners or jumping stilts wowing the audience with their 3m jumps and somersaults.
Their leader, Ahmad Alhafiz Najmi, 22, said they loved livening up the atmosphere and promoting thesport.
“Skyrunning is very simple to learn and is great for the body. My New Year's wish is for more Malaysians to pick up the sport and I also wish for peace and prosperity for all,” he said.
The annual countdown, which kicked off at 10pm also featured performances by local artistes including Anuar Zain, Noraniza Idris, Fabulous Cats, Bunkface, Karen Tan and many others.
Also at the countdown were Deputy Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin and Information, Communications and Culture Minister Datuk Seri Dr Rais Yatim as well as 56 beauty queens from the Miss Tourism International 2012 competition.
“Barisan Nasional, under the Prime Minister's leadership, has placed Malaysia on a firm platform to become a developed nation by 2020,” said Muhyiddin who also recited a Malay poem, urging the people to work together with the Government to achieve this.
Earlier, Muhyiddin had joined thousands gathered at the i-City in Shah Alam for the Karnival Sayangi Malaysia, singing along to the 1Malaysia and the Sayangi Selangor Yakini BB songs.
Norhasliza Abdullah, 28, who came to the countdown with her husband, son and sister-in-law said it was an exciting event.
“My family and I had never been to a mass countdown of the new year before. We wanted to usher in the New Year with other Selangorians and that's why we are here,” said the housewife from Shah Alam.
An estimated 500,000 people had attended the three-day carnival.