Merdeka Day celebrates 50 years of nationhood

The Padang (present-day Dataran Pahlawan) in Bandar Hilir, Melaka, was where Tunku Abdul Rahman Putra Al-Haj made the Declaration of Independence to o...
A Light Rail Transit passenger train passes by a banner of Malaysia's past and present ministers at downtown Kuala Lumpur.

The Padang (present-day Dataran Pahlawan) in Bandar Hilir, Melaka, was where Tunku Abdul Rahman Putra Al-Haj made the Declaration of Independence to o...

A Light Rail Transit passenger train passes by a banner of Malaysia's past and present ministers at downtown Kuala Lumpur.

Malaysia celebrates its 50th Merdeka or Independence Day anniversary from British rule today and the festivities in connection with the Golden Jubilee milestone are unfolding on a grand scale.
The month-long celebration with the motto Malaysiaku Gemilang (My Excellent Malaysia) kicked off last August 17 and will continue until September 10, 2007. Events and activities are taking Malaysians on a historical journey, showcasing Malaysia's achievements and successes as a nation of diverse races, cultures and religions.
All the 13 states and federal territories in Malaysia as in the past are holding state-level celebrations. At the national level, Malaysia's Ministry of Arts, Culture and Heritage has planned seven major programs to commemorate this special occasion.
To celebrate the Merdeka anniversary, the New Straits Times even started running old editions of the newspaper on August 25.
Main Programs
1. Launching Ceremony of Merdeka Celebration and Fly the Jalur Gemilang (“Stripes of Glory”) Campaign
Date: August 17, 2007
Time: 8.00 p.m.
Venue: Dataran Pahlawan, Bandar Hilir, Melaka
It was at the Padang (present-day Dataran Pahlawan) in Bandar Hilir, Melaka (Malacca), on February 20, 1956, that YTM Tunku Abdul Rahman Putra Al-Haj made the Declaration of Independence to over 100,000 people. The younger generation of Malaysians had the chance to be part of history during the re-enactment of this significant event half a century later on August 17, 2007. Video clips showcased Malaysia's road to independence and Tunku's departure for London and his subsequent arrival at the Batu Berendam Airport in Melaka, bringing with him the official notification of Malaya's independence from London.
During the re-enactment of the episode, Malaysian Prime Minister Datuk Seri Abdullah Haji Ahmad Badawi was driven from the Renaissance Hotel to Dataran Pahlawan in a vintage car of the same model as that used by the Tunku in 1956. The Nash Rembler Custom Convertible 1951 costing RM 171,000 was bought in Ohio, the United States, for this occasion.
The original car could not be found. Initially the car company in Ohio did not want to sell it for it had been used in one of the “Superman” movies. Upon delivery in Malaysia, the green car was painted black and the registration number was changed to the one used 41 years ago, M4442.
The event recalling the historic moment when Tunku Abdul Rahman proclaimed Malaya's independence also saw the launching of the “Fly the Jalur Gemilang” campaign.
At Dataran Pahlawan, the Prime Minister was greeted by 50 veteran independence fighters led by Tan Sri Abdul Aziz Tapa. The veteran independence fighters were honored during a special recognition ceremony later in the evening.
2. Ambang Merdeka (Eve of Merdeka) Celebration
Date: August 30, 2007
Time: 10 p.m.
Venue: In front of Sultan Abdul Samad Building, Merdeka Square in Kuala Lumpur
The event was intended to showcase the co-operation of the diverse races during the process of gaining independence. The audience was taken back in time to recall the fight for independence led by the National Alliance. Members of UMNO, MCA and MIC youth wings took part in the event supported by the parties' women wings symbolizing the strength of the National Alliance today. Patriotic and traditional songs, drums performance, martial arts demonstrations, school brass bands and a special performance by the Kuala Lumpur City Hall Horse Unit were part of the celebrations.
On arrival, the Prime Minister was received by 300 members of the National Alliance on motorcycles. When the countdown began, the whole of Merdeka Square was darkened. At the stroke of 12 midnight, the lights were turned on again. This was followed by the raising of the Jalur Gemilang and shouts of Merdeka led by the Prime Minister.
3. Merdeka Day Parade
Date: August 31, 2007
Time: 8 a.m.
Venue: Merdeka Square, Kuala Lumpur
The National Day parade will showcase the achievements and successes of the country during the past 50 years. There are five segments to represent the eras of the five Prime Ministers - independence (Tunku Abdul Rahman), development (Tun Abdul Razak), integration (Tun Hussein Onn), modernization (Tun Mahathir Mohamad) and excellence (Datuk Seri Abdullah Haji Ahmad Badawi). More than 25,000 people will take part in the event. The parade will be made up of contingents from the public and private sectors, including 35 brass bands and 15 floats.
4. Tea Party
Date: August 31, 2007
Time: 4 p.m.
Venue: Istana Negara, Kuala Lumpur
His Majesty Seri Paduka Baginda Yang di-Pertuan Agong Tuanku Mizan Zainal Abidin and Her Majesty Raja Permaisuri Agong Tuanku Nur Zahirah will host the tea party at Istana Negara (National Palace). The Prime Minister and Deputy Prime Minister will join the distinguished guests to be composed of the members of the diplomatic corps and foreign delegates invited to the tea party.
5.50th Merdeka Celebration
Date: August 31, 2007
Time: 8 p.m.
Venue: Merdeka Stadium, Kuala Lumpur
The climax of the Merdeka celebration will be a mammoth gathering in the Merdeka Stadium, the original site where the Tunku made the Proclamation of Independence on August 31, 1957.
During the re-enactment of the historical moment, the Constitution Letter will be handed to the Prime Minister, who will open it before placing it in a capsule. This will be followed by a holographic shot of the Tunku reading the last paragraph of the letter. The Prime Minister will then shout Merdeka seven times and all present will echo him accordingly.
Fifty lucky Merdeka “babies,” who were all born on August 31, 1957, have been invited to join the country’s lavish independence day bash in Kuala Lumpur. Mohd Merdeka Che Som, a teacher born in Bukit Bunga, Tanah Merah, is one of them.
Teased often during his schooldays because of his name, he is today very proud of it. The father of six children is leaving his family behind in Kelantan. The invitation to the federal capital is only for him.
6.Religious Programs
Various religious activities will be held throughout the month at mosques, Buddhist and Hindu temples, churches and Sikh gurdwaras in the Klang Valley. A special prayer ceremony was held at the National Mosque in Kuala Lumpur on August 29, 2007. His Majesty Seri Paduka Baginda Yang di-Pertuan Agong's attendance of the event was expected. Other religious activities include special prayers for peace, safety and prosperity of the nation, exhibitions, nasyid competition and religious talks.
7. Closing Ceremony of the Merdeka Celebration
Date: September 10, 2007
Time: 9 p.m.
Venue: Stadium Negeri, Kuching, Sarawak
In previous years, the closing ceremony of the Merdeka celebrations was held on September 16, as this was the date when the federation of Malaysia was formed in 1963. However, since September16 this year falls in the month of Ramadhan and coincides with the birthday of the TYT Yang Di-Pertua Negeri Sarawak, the celebration will be brought forward to September 10.
The event this year will begin with a singing competition and concert by local artists. Performances throughout the event will showcase the diverse Malaysian culture, including the culture of the ethnic communities in Sabah and Sarawak, as well as the orang asli in the peninsula. A segment will honor the memory of the independent fighters of earlier times such as Tok Janggut, Mat Kilau and Datuk Bahaman.

Updated : 2021-04-16 22:06 GMT+08:00