Running on the theme ‘Negaraku Sehati Sejiwa’ (‘My Country, one heart one soul’) this year’s Merdeka Parade was held on Thursday, August 31 along Jalan Panglima Bukit Gantang Wahab, Ipoh. Around 10,000 people crowded the sides of the street with much enthusiasm.
The event, which began around 8am, was graced by HRH Sultan Nazrin Muizzuddin Shah and HRH Tuanku Zara Salim. Raja Muda Perak, Raja Jaafar Ibni Almarhum Raja Muda Musa, Raja Puan Besar, Raja Nor Mahani and Menteri Besar, Dato’ Seri DiRaja Dr Zambry Abd Kadir.
It started off with songs by a school choir from Ipoh followed by a cultural dance performance. A total of 107 contingents partook in the parade, each showcasing their creativity and neat synchronisation. The contingents were mainly from the public sector plus institutions of higher learning and social clubs.
Ipoh Echo asked a few onlookers what the parade meant to them and their hopes for Malaysia.
“I never miss this parade. It’s good to see people being passionate about being part of the parade, maybe that’s one thing that keeps us united,” said Karthini, 34.
“The parade signifies my love and support for Malaysia. There’s nowhere else I’d rather be on a Merdeka morning. Apart from that, I hope Malaysia will get going. We’ve so much to catch up,” said Chong Wei Lum, a retired businessman.
“I came here at 4.30am to support my friends. I joined the contingent last year and it’s an indescribable experience. Just because I’m not part of it this year, it doesn’t mean I won’t come to support,” said Gregory from SMK Anderson Ipoh.
After the parade, guests were invited for a light brunch with the VIPs at Ipoh Town Hall. While they ate they were entertained to songs and dances performed by a local dance troupe. The prize-giving ceremony by HRH Sultan Nazrin marked the end of the celebration.
SMJK Sam Tet Ipoh won first place for best marching, followed by SMJK Nan Hwa Sitiawan and Universiti Teknologi MARA (UITM) Seri Iskandar, respectively. Ipoh City Council was named best dressed contingent while the Kinta District contingent won the district marching category.