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Scaled down Merdeka do this year

KUALA LUMPUR, 4 May 2009: This year’s Merdeka Day celebrations, especially the Merdeka parade on the morning of 31 Aug, will be scaled down because it falls during the Muslim fasting month of Ramadan.

The celebrations to commemorate the nation’s independence would continue but it would be toned down, said Information, Communications and Culture Minister Datuk Seri Dr Rais Yatim.

“I would be holding a meeting with all relevant parties end of the month to decide on the theme, scope and participation of the Merdeka celebrations.

“We also intend to highlight non-governmental organisations (NGOs) in this year’s celebrations to reflect the 1Malaysia policy,” he told reporters after meeting the NGOs involved in arts and culture in Hulu Kelang today.

He also said that the Information Department would come up with a mechanism to collect feedback from the public on national matters.

“We are thinking of introducing a system either through the short messaging system (SMS), emails or even digital polling as long as the feedback is true and fair,” he said.

Rais also said all broadcasters, both radio and television, were required to allocate two minutes of their airtime to show or publicise the concept of self-resilience.

This was contained in the broadcasting licence approved by the government but “the problem now is enforcement”, he said.

Earlier, he called on all arts and culture activists including filmmakers to give special focus on highlighting the 1Malaysia concept.

“We need to realise this concept. It is not wrong for the Malay [Malaysians] to have conversation with the Chinese [Malaysians], not wrong if the Malay [Malaysians] speak Chinese or the other way round. We want our citizens to live in harmony.

“The ministry will do whatever we can to help realise this concept. 1Malaysia safeguards the rights of the Malay [Malaysians] and also the non-Malay [Malaysians]. This concept of for all Malaysians,” he said. — Bernama

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