Over 10,000 Perakeans filled the grounds of Stadium Indera Mulia to usher in the New Year. While they waited anxiously for the countdown to midnight and the approaching New Year, they were entertained to live music and songs performed by some of the country’s top musical and singing talents. The line-up included popular singers such as Saleem of Iklim, Adam of the Akademi Fantasia genre, Ramli ‘Papa Rock’ Sarip and some home-grown talents. TV host and presenter, Dato’ AC Mizal emceed the show, which helped keep the restless crowd at bay and on their feet.
The New Year signalled the start of the much-touted and talked about event of the state – Visit Perak Year (VPY) 2012. And there to do the honours was Menteri Besar, Dato’ Seri DiRaja Zambry Abd Kadir. Accompanying the MB under the specially erected VIP tent were his wife, Datin Seri DiRaja Sharipah Zulkifli, Executive Councillor for Tourism, Dato’ Hamidah Osman, members of the state executive committees, invited guests and senior government officials. Their singular objective was to celebrate the dawn of the New Year along with other Perakeans.
In his keynote New Year address, Zambry thanked Perakeans for their support and confidence in his administration in spite of the many complaints. “Together we’ll develop the state and ensure that its economy will prosper with the rest of the country,” he enthused. “This can be achieved if the people work hard and maintain peace and stability.”
The MB was certain that VPY 2012 would succeed considering the prevalent mood engulfing the state. “With the support of Perakeans I am certain our target of attracting five million visitors will be achieved,” he remarked. “We don’t want Perak to be known for its many touristic destinations alone. We want to be known for our warmth, friendliness and hospitality too.”
The occasion also marked the launching of the Perak Tourist Police, a dedicated police unit to help ensure tourists’ safety while they are in the state. The unit consists of a mobile and a foot-patrolling team which will be deployed to areas frequented by tourists.
At 12 midnight the sky was lit by a brilliant display of fireworks much to the delight of the excited onlookers. It signified the end of 2011 and the beginning of 2012.
An earlier event held in conjunction with the launching of VPY 2012 was Perak Tourism Idol, a karaoke competition pitting winners from the various districts. Fifteen finalists were on stage vying for the coveted title. Fendy Shah Nayan, 32, representing Ipoh, was adjudged the winner. Second placing went to Nina Pelez, 19, from Teluk Intan. Primary school student, Shahrul Izlan, 12, was placed third.