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Malaysia celebrates 66th Independence Day

Kuala Lumpur, Aug 31 (IANS) Malaysia on Thursday celebrated its 66th Independence Day with parades, fireworks and large scale gatherings under the theme of unifying ties between the nation’s diverse groups.

Shortly after midnight on Wednesday, thousands of Malaysians marked the occasion through the singing of patriotic songs and other activities, with the festivities culminating in a parade overseen by King Sultan Abdullah Sultan Ahmad Shah at the administration centre of Putrajaya on Thursday morning, reports Xinhua news agency.

The Malaysian monarch was joined by Prime Minister Anwar Ibrahim, members of the cabinet and other officials, with thousands of military and civilian personnel participating in the parade besides dancers and other performers.

In a message to the people, Sultan Abdullah reminded Malaysians that unity is key to harmony, wellbeing of the people and the Southeast Asian country.

“In fact, this strong unity is also the main key to the stability and prosperity of the country, as well as the seed and source of strength for us to face any current and future challenges,” he said.

“Therefore, it is a joint responsibility of the leaders and the people to not only preserve and strengthen the harmony and unity that has been achieved but also to fuel it among us,” he added.

On August 31, 1957, the then Federation of Malaya gained independence from British rule.

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