Hari Merdeka

Hari Merdeka
(Independence Day)
Merdeka Day Parade 08 - 57.jpg
A man is thrown into the air by a crowd during Merdeka Day celebrations in Merdeka Square, Kuala Lumpur, 2008
Official nameHari Merdeka
Also calledMerdeka, Hari Kebangsaan, National Day
Observed byMalaysians
TypeNational
SignificanceMarks the independence of the Federation of Malaya
Date31 August
Next time31 August 2019 (2019-08-31)
Frequencyannual
Part of a series on the
Malaysia
The independence of Malaya and the merger proclamation of North Borneo and Sarawak to formed Malaysia.
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Hari Merdeka (Malaysian for 'Independence Day'), also known as Hari Kebangsaan (National day), refers to the day when the Federation of Malaya's independence from the British Empire was officially declared. At exactly 09:30 on 31 August 1957, the declaration was read by the first Chief Minister of Malaya, Tunku Abdul Rahman at the Merdeka Stadium in the presence of thousands of people including Malay Rulers, members of the federal government, and foreign dignitaries.

To commemorate the event, Hari Merdeka was declared a national holiday in Malaysia and observed annually on 31 August. The day should not be confused with Hari Malaysia ('Malaysia Day') that commemorates the formation of Malaysia on 16 September 1963, when North Borneo, Sarawak, and Singapore federated with the existing states of the Federation of Malaya.[1]

Events leading up to independence

The effort for independence was spearheaded by Tunku Abdul Rahman, the first Prime Minister of Malaysia, who led a delegation of ministers and political leaders of Malaya in negotiations with the British in London for Merdeka, or independence along with the first president of the Malaysian Chinese Association (MCA) Tun Dato Sir Tan Cheng Lock and fifth President of Malaysian Indian Congress Tun V. T. Sambanthan. Once it became clear that the Communist threat posed during the Malayan Emergency was petering out, agreement was reached on 8 February 1956, for Malaya to gain independence from the British Empire. However, logistical and administrative reasons led to the official proclamation of independence in the next year, on 31 August 1957, at Stadium Merdeka (Independence Stadium), in Kuala Lumpur, which was purposely built for the celebrations of national independence day. The announcement of the day was set months earlier by the Tunku in a meeting of the Alliance in Melaka.

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