Workers clearing and moving materials for Malaysia Day to Stadium Perpaduan in Petra Jaya.

KUCHING: The decision to move the venue of the national level Malaysia Day celebration from Padang Merdeka to Stadium Perpaduan is done for the good of everyone.

Deputy Chief Minister Datuk Amar Awang Tengah Ali Hasan confirmed the change of venue in a press conference here yesterday.

“We have no choice but to relocate the venue to the indoor stadium because of health issues.

“We cannot put the health of the public at risk in case the air pollutant index may rise up to more than 200. We never know what is the situation is come September 16,” he said.

Awang Tengah (seated centre) speaking to reporters. Photos: Mohd Alif Noni

He pointed out that the organising committee made the decision last Tuesday after being briefed by the Meteorological Department, Natural Resources and Environmental Board (NREB) and Department of Environment (DOE) on the haze situation.

Awang Tengah who is chairman of the organising committee revealed that preparations at the original venue, Padang Merdeka had reached 80 per cent completion.

“I know a lot of the performers are disappointed with the decision as they have prepared intensively over the last three weeks, now they have to make adjustments due to the venue change.

“Of course, I can see the disappointment, they are very eager to perform. But for the good of everyone, we have to make the decision.”

He insisted that no programmes or performances are scrapped due to the venue change but pointed out that some may have to be downscaled.

The deputy chief minister maintained that the organising committee would still give their best to ensure that the Malaysia Day celebrations would be a success.

“The main highlights of the celebration at the indoor stadium will still be the same as the ones already planned for Padang Merdeka.

“It will comprise performances like the beat of 300 drums, shadow play, raising of the Jalur Gemilang, Kembara Merdeka Convoy, which promises to be a colourful and meaningful event.”

He revealed that a decorated car parade that would commence on the day itself will continue albeit with a change of route.

“It will start from MBKS building to the road leading to Waterfront Kuching and will end at Icom Square from 8pm to 9.30pm,” he added.

Workers clearing and moving materials for Malaysia Day to Stadium Perpaduan in Petra Jaya.