KUALA LUMPUR, Jan 1 – At the stroke of midnight (Dec 31), fireworks lit the night sky at several locations throughout the country to welcome 2014 and leave 2013 with fond memories.

The new year celebration also marks the start of the Visit Malaysia Year 2014.

Despite an anti-government rally held in the capital, it did not dampen the celebration in other places in the country.

In PUTRAJAYA, more than 500,000 visitors swarmed Dataran Putrajaya in Precinct 3 for the 2014 New Year Concert organised by AmBank Group with the cooperation of Putrajaya Corporation.

Present were former prime minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad and his wife, Tun Dr Siti Hasmah Mohd Ali, Putrajaya Corporation president Tan Sri Dr Aseh Che Mat, and Ambank Group chairman Tan Sri Azman Hashim and his wife, Tunku Arishah Tunku Maamor.

Apart from fireworks, a concert featuring artists, including Datuk M Nasir, Datuk Hattan, Datuk Jamal Abdillah, Ella, Soo Wincci, Rabbit Mac, Mista G, Kumpulan Sweet Charity, Amy Search and Hujan, The Malaysian Drum Symphony, The Singing Shop and Kombo PPj entertained revellers.

The concert was telecasted live over NTV7 and hosted by HotFM DJs Fara Fauzana and Faizal Ismail.

In SHAH ALAM, more than 3,000 people thronged Dataran Kemerdekaan for the celebration.

Apart from performances put up by singers such as Aisyah, Nora and Voice of Ummi, the celebration was enlivened by religious talks given by religious scholars, namely Aziz Ibrahim, Haslin Ibrahim and Don Danial.

I-City, endorsed as a night tourism destination by the government, ushered in the new year and Visit Malaysia Year with a dazzling display of fireworks.

Instead of having the customary fireworks display at the stroke of midnight, the City management has decided to incorporate an additional session at 8pm to usher in both the new year and VMY 2014, touted to be the biggest event in the Malaysian tourism calendar.

In between the two fireworks displays, thousands of Shah Alam city folks took the opportunity to visit the i-City’s theme park that boasts a host of leisure attractions, among others, Snowalk, Trick Art Museum and Red Carpet, Malaysia’s first interactive All-Star wax museum.

Tang Soke Cheng, information manager of I-Berhad, the developer of i-City, told Bernama that 2014 is expected to be a big year for i-City with more exciting attractions.

“As a major player in the leisure business, we reiterate our fullest support to the all-out efforts by the Tourism and Culture Ministry to make VMY 2014 a resounding success,” she added.

In MELAKA, over 5,000 revellers, including foreign tourists, attended the new year celebration at Dataran Pahlawan, Bandar Hilir.

State executive councillor Datuk Md Yunos Husin simultaneously launched the VMY 2014 as the state was set to welcome 14 million tourists by holding 94 events, including the International River Festival, World Heritage Festival and Melaka Tourism Show.

Tourists attending the new year celebration were given the Melaka Visit Year calendar prepared by the Chief Minister’s Office tourism promotion division.

A choir, fireworks, a lucky draw and the countdown enlivened the atmosphere.

In GEORGE TOWN, thousands of Penang residents and tourists flooded Padang Kota Lama to welcome the new year and witnessed a firework display at the stroke of midnight.

Earlier, some 8,000 revellers were entertained to a concert featuring artistes such as Kumpulan JYJ Reunion, Bunkface, Tomok, Manifesto, The Villanz and Pink Tan.

Huge crowds were also reported in Gurney Drive, Bukit Bendera, Queensbay Mall, Kompleks Bukit Jambul and Butterworth Municipal Council field as early as 8pm to usher in the new year.

In KEDAH, the new year celebration was also held in several major towns.

People gathered at Taman Jubli Emas in Alor Setar, Langkawi and Dataran Zero in Sungai Petani for the celebration.

Fireworks were also lighted at midnight to welcome the new year.

In KANGAR, there was no organised events to welcome 2014, but thousands of people visited the 2013 Perlis IMT-GT Fair which indirectly became the focal point of the celebration at Dataran Datuk Sheikh Ahmad.

A countdown was held for visitors in front of the Perlis Government Complex clock.

The brief occasion was held without any fanfare or fireworks while the Perlis IMT-GT fair which assembled entrepreneurs from Malaysia, Indonesia and Thailand to promote their products for six-days.

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