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The National Day parade came to a close with the singing of the Negaraku at Dataran Merdeka, today. (pix by MOHD YUSNI ARIFFIN)

KUALA LUMPUR: The National Day parade came to a close with the singing of the Negaraku at Dataran Merdeka, today.

The crowd chanted "Daulat Tuanku" three times as the Yang di-Pertuan Agong, Sultan Muhammad V, made his way down from the grandstand about 10.45am to leave the event.

Soon after, the 400-strong marching band played the late Sudirman's hit song, Tanggal 31.

Children and adults alike sang along to the tune, proudly waving their Jalur Gemilang in the air.

Over 50,000 people thronged Merdeka Square this morning, some coming as early as 6am to secure the best possible seats to watch the annual parade.

Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak and his wife, Datin Seri Rosmah Mansor arrived at 7.45am in matching yellow khaki uniforms. It was also attended by Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Dr Ahmad Zahid Hamidi, Cmunications and Multimedia Minister Datuk Seri Dr Salleh Said Keruak, among others.

The crowd then witnessed the hoisting of the national flag by officers from the Royal Malaysian Navy (RMN) followed by the singing of Negaraku and a 14-gun salute representing the states in the country by the Royal Artillery Regiment.

This was followed by the oath-taking (ikrar) ceremony, and ended with the crowd being led to the shouts of "Merdeka", led by Najib.

Spectators were then taken back in time when the nation's 60-year history was presented at the celebration, right from pre-independence days.

The showcase was aided by a 200-metre wide and 9-metre long giant LED screen, with the help of 2,000 student volunteers on the graphic terrace.

With the this year's theme "Negaraku Sehati Sejiwa" (My country, One Heart, One Soul) performers re-enacted the Malaysia's journey and development under all six prime ministers, showing how the country had progressed throughout 60 years.

This year's celebration also saw the appearance of several individuals, including two RMN retirees tasked with raising the Malaysian flag for the first time. They were Lt Commander (Rtd) Mohd Sharif Kalam and Warrant Officer 1 Commander (Rtd) Oliver Culvelt Samuel.

Another special guest was Rusnah Aksah, 66, who released 101 pigeons on Sept 16, 1963 in conjunction with the formation of Malaysia. Rusnah was 12 at the time she released the birds at Merdeka Stadium.

This time, Rusnah released 60 pigeons, symbolising 60 years of independence.

Also making an appearance was the national contingent for the 2017 Kuala Lumpur Sea Games, led by the official mascot, Rimau, and cycling superstar 'Pocket Rocketman' Azizulhasni Awang.

A giant 20x40m Jalur Gemilang, was brought to the parade march by the National Service Training Department and the National Service Volunteer Brigade, led by Mohd Yunus Abd Rahmat.

The crowd was also treated to an airshow performed by the Royal Malaysian Airforce fly formation which this time featured Hawk aircraft, F/A 18Ds and Sukhoi SU 30 MKM fighter jets.

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