Penangites celebrate 2010's arrival in peace amid tight security

January 1, 2010 2:03 pm 

PENANG, Jan. 1 — Thousands of locals and tourists welcomed 2010 in Penang, ushered the new year in a joyous atmosphere filled with exuberance amid mesmerizing firework displays tonight.

Policemen and security personnel were on duty at strategic locations such as the Esplanade, Gurney Drive, Queensbay Mall and Auto-city in Juru to ensure there were no untoward incidents.

Roadblocks were mounted at several main roads, including surveillance in the air using helicopters, especially after the ugly ruckus on Christmas Eve when rowdy revelers attacked several Rela members and journalists.

Revelers at Gurney Plaza were treated to cultural dances, live band performances, fashion shows and games.

About 2,000 balloons with wish cards were released in conjunction with the official launching of Visit Penang Year 2010-2012 by Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng who was already talking of 2014 prospects.

"We have set a target to see about 10 million tourists to the state in 2014 with the campaign themed "Penang Has It All", he said in his speech.

Over at the Esplanade, the organizers succeeded in their attempt to break the Guinness World Record for the largest dance performance when 12,000 dances performed their routine but the record has yet to be rectified.

The previous record was held by a team of 7,700 dancers in Cebu, the Philippines, whereby they took part in a 10-minute non-stop synchronized routine in June this year.

At the Queensbay Mall, there were stage performances by Taiwanese superstars, The Power Station, Tank and other local artistes.

On the mainland, revelers were gathered at Auto-city in Juru to watch stage performers and followed by a fireworks display.

The festivities at the four main countdown venues in the state ended without any untoward incidents. (PNA/Xinhua) FFC/utb

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