Tanjung Aru set for Malaysia Day celebration

Creative: Dony Antaim, 30, painting a 'Sungang' or hornbill replica in preparation for the Malaysia Day celebration at the Prince Philip Park in Tanjung Aru.

KOTA KINABALU - The popular Tanjung Aru beach will be the main venue for the Malaysia Day celebration here, centred around the Prince Philip Recreational Park.

The event will also see the opening of the Tanjung Aru Eco-Development Park and a host of new facilities at the beach, which include better parking lots, more tourist attractions and docking bays for small vessels.

The Sept 16 event will also mark the 50th year of Sabah's independence within Malaysia.

Deputy Chief Minister Datuk Yahya Hussin, the event's organising chairman, said the Prince Philip Park was chosen as the venue for the celebration due to its history and existence long before Sabah came to be part of Malaysia.

The highlight of the event is the launching of commemorative gold coins by Eco-Development Sdn Bhd, which will be attended by potential investors nationwide and internationally.

"These gold coins can later be bought at Bank Negara or the participating banks," Yahya said.

Also in the programme is a concert featuring top national artistes, such as Stacy, Faizal Tahir, Jimmy Palikat, Jaclyn Victor, Sheila Hamza, One Nation MC, Fauziah Gambus and Hafiz.

Visitors can also enjoy Sabah hospitality at five traditional houses constructed by local craftsmen, where they can enjoy local cuisine and participate in native games.

"There are so many things a person can do in Tanjung Aru.

"Therefore, we have to come up with plans to improve its outlook, facilities and cleanliness and, at the same time, add more attractions to it," said Yahya.

He called on the city folk and visitors to come in full force to celebrate Malaysia Day at the beach.

The main event will start at 8pm while guests and visitors are expected to fill the place by 7pm.

Yahya, who expects a crowd of 50,000, said visitors can register at the main entrance for a "lucky coupon" and stand a chance to win prizes.

Shuttle buses from various points, including the nearby Wisma Muis, would be available for visitors and there are about 5,000 parking bays in the area.