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Merdeka day

Aun Ngo

Mon Aug 31 2009


OFFICIAL celebrations for Malaysia’s independence day has been canned in Melbourne this year, in deference to the holy month of Ramadan.

Malaysian Students’ Council of Australia spokeswoman Azaliya Abdullah said most events have been organised outside the Islamic month of fasting.

Mabel Sia, secretary of Melbourne University’s Malaysian student society MOMU, said the association cancelled its traditional annual celebrations.

“Normally, MOMU annually celebrates a Merdeka night with traditional clothing and food, but Merdeka this year clashes with Ramadan, so that’s a no go,” Ms Sia said.

But finding the money to host events such as this have also been a crippling issue, she said.

RMIT University’s Malaysian Student Association vice-president Yit Ming Ng said the financial crisis had made it more difficult for international student clubs to secure funding.

“It’s getting more difficult to find sponsors now since people are being more careful with their cash,” he said.

Ironically, the closest thing to an official celebration was the Merdeka Eve 2009 party held last night at CQ Bar on Queen St.

Revellers joined special guests, the Lap Sap DJ Set from Zouk Malaysia, and prominent Malaysian bloggers Kenny Sia and Kim Ong, as they partied into the wee hours.

Malaysian student club representatives said students had Malaysia Week to look forward to, which would be held from September 27 to October 7.

A series of programs have already been planned, including the cultural show Fiesta Malaysia, the Australia Malaysia Film Festival, a fashion exhibition featuring Malaysian batik, a career expo, and the Malam Gemilang (Glorious Night) Gala Dinner.