As Malaysians are gearing up for Merdeka with national flags being propped up outside homes and throughout the bustling streets, celebrations are underway to commemorate the country’s 62nd birthday.
Its biggest celebration is slated to be the annual parade held in Putrajaya every 31st of August. This which marks a significant moment in history as the first-ever independence parade was held there on 1st September 1957 – a day after the Federation of Malaya declared its independence from the British Empire.
Although our country’s rich history provides an abundance of stories to tell, here are four interesting facts you may not know about Malaysia!
1. Malaysia Day formed Malaysia
While Merdeka commemorates a joyous day in history, the Malaysia we know today was formed in 16th September 1963 (now known as Malaysia Day) when the Bornean states of Sabah and Sarawak joined with Peninsula Malaya, together with Singapore. However, Singapore was part of Malaysia for two years before breaking away on August 9, 1965.
2. The flag was a winning design in a competition
Malaysia’s national flag, the Jalur Gemilang, was designed by a 29-year old architect who entered the flag design competition in 1947. However, upon winning the competition, the flag’s star was changed to a 14-pointed one as the original was only a five-pointed one. The flag’s red and white alternating stripes, as well as the 14-point star, represent the 14 states in the country, whilst the crescent represents Islam, the country’s state religion.
3. Negaraku was originally for Perak
Negaraku, Malaysia’s national anthem, was originally the state anthem for Perak. Tunku Abdul Rahman, the then Ministry for Home Affairs, held a contest worldwide in search for a suitable national anthem. After receiving 514 entries from all over the world, none were deemed suitable and the committee turned to re-writing the lyrics from Perak’s state anthem.
4. Borneo island is the largest in Asia
Borneo Island is the largest island in Asia and the third-largest island in the world, after Greenland and New Guinea. Shared with Malaysia’s eastern states of Sabah and Sarawak, Brunei and Indonesia also inhabit the island, Borneo is also home to one of the oldest rainforests in the world!
Join the Celebrations at Merdeka Square!
If you are looking to enrich yourself with the history of Malaysia, there is no better time than this month to do so! Every year on this day, Malaysians gather to show our appreciation for another year of harmony as well as to remind ourselves of the struggle our ancestors went through to fight for our nation’s freedom.
If you have not celebrated Merdeka before, this is a great opportunity for you to head to Putrajaya on 31 August, grab a flag and wave it with us as you witness a historical parade as well as cultural performances.
Meanwhile, a spectacular fireworks show is usually displayed on this celebratory day at KLCC.
Now sure how to get around Kuala Lumpur? Lucky for you, we have listed a quick public transport guide for you to get around the bustling city centre and enjoy the festivities!