In 1957, Malaysia’s first Prime Minister, Allahyarham Tunku Abdul Rahman Putra Al-Haj spearheaded the negotiations with the British in London. As a result, Malaysia gained her peaceful independence on August 31, 1957. It was a glorious day as thousands of Malaysians gathered at Merdeka Stadium where Tunku Abdul Rahman read the declaration of independence by chanting the most iconic words in Malaysian history -- “Merdeka” seven times at that historical moment.
Since then, the entire month of August is fondly referred to as the “Merdeka Month” in Malaysia. Hari Merdeka or National Day has been an annual celebration at its grandest scale. The event is usually celebrated with parades, amazing performance of the fighter jets coloring the sky and the dignitaries and invited guests donned in their traditional uniforms and costumes. Each Independence Day celebration has a special theme. Schools, other education institutions, government agencies and departments and some of the private sector companies will organize activities to instill the patriotic culture. The major roads and streets in Malaysia will be hoisted with the “Jalur Gemilang” (Flag of Malaysia) while corporations and shopping malls will also organise competitions and “ Merdeka Sales” in conjunction with the Independence Day.
Amidst the joyful and memorable day, Malaysia’s Independence Day is not just a celebration or another public holiday, it is a day to remind her citizens of the struggles and sacrifices made by our forefathers. The legacy helps us understand our origins and how the future generation can lead the country to greater heights.