KUALA LUMPUR: Jan 1, 2020 marked a day of firsts in many ways for Malaysia.
The new decade kicked off with a bang, with the official launch of Visit Malaysia Year 2020 (VMY2020) at Dataran Merdeka here on Tuesday night.
The year-long campaign is targeting to achieve RM100 billion in revenue from tourism and 30 million tourist arrivals.
Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad joined around 80,000 people at the launch, held simultaneously with the New Year countdown.
At the stroke of midnight, revellers were treated to a glittering display of a “Light Show in the Sky” using 300 drones.
The graphic presentation painted the night sky with a trishaw, a hornbill, a Musang King durian and the Jalur Gemilang, before culminating in a fireworks display.
Meanwhile, tourists yesterday experienced Malaysian hospitality first hand when they were given a warm welcome at 22 entry points nationwide.
At the Kuala Lumpur International Airport, 299 passengers on board an Etihad Airways flight from Abu Dhabi were presented with special VMY2020 sashes by Tourism, Arts and Culture Minister Datuk Mohamaddin Ketapi.
A total of 160 passengers of South Korean low-cost airline Jin Air, which arrived at the Senai International Airport in Johor yesterday, were greeted by Menteri Besar Datuk Dr Sahruddin Jamal.
Another first for the nation was the implementation of the no-smoking rule at eateries, which came into force at midnight last night.
To enforce the smoking ban, the Health Ministry had deployed 5,000 personnel nationwide to issue summonses to those who flouted the law.
Those caught smoking in no-smoking zones, including all eateries, would be issued a RM250 compound.
The new year also saw the enforcement of the installation of child car seats, made compulsory under the Child Restraint Systems (CRS) guideline.
This policy was announced in October by Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Dr Wan Azizah Wan Ismail.
Studies showed that CRS could potentially reduce risks of injury or death by up to 70 per cent, and reduce risks by between 54 and 80 per cent to children aged 1 to 4 years.
Malaysians now have a new option for public transport with the launch of the Dego Ride motorcycle e-hailing service.
The service was banned due to safety concerns by the previous Barisan Nasional administration four years ago, but it returned to Malaysian streets after its relaunch yesterday.
The local start-up, to service the Klang Valley, Shah Alam and Putrajaya, hoped to create employment opportunities for youth, especially those in the B40 group.
The new service was launched by Youth and Sports Minister Syed Saddiq Syed Abdul Rahman at the Dego management office here yesterday.
Transport Minister Anthony Loke had, in September, announced that the government would allow ride-hailing companies, including Indonesia’s Gojek, to start motorcycle e-hailing operations on a limited scale.