Stadium Merdeka was constructed from September 25, 1956 to August 21, 1957. The birthplace of modern Malaysia, Stadium Merdeka was the site of one of the nation’s most important events. It was here on 31 August, 1957 that power was transferred from the British empire to the newly independent Malaysian government. While the stadium is an important part of Malaysia’s history, it was almost demolished in the late 1990s. In February 2003, Stadium Merdeka was named a national heritage building. In 2007, Merdeka Stadium underwent restoration to its original 1957 condition. The 45,000-capacity stadium has been reduced to 20,000, which meant that several of the upper terrace blocks built over the years had to be demolished. The renovations are part of Malaysia’s 50th anniversary plans to relive the moment when Tunku Abdul Rahman proclaimed independence there.
Hari Merdeka (Independence Day) is a national day of Malaysia commemorating the independence of the Federation of Malaya from British colonial rule, celebrated on August 31. On that day, power was transferred from the British Empire to the newly independent Malayan government. Tens of thousands of people crowded into the stadium, which was built specifically for this occasion. The effort for independence was spearheaded by Tunku Abdul Rahman Putra Al-Haj, 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 Malayan Chinese Association (MCA) Tun Dato Sir Tan Cheng Lock and fifth President of Malaysian Indian Congress Tun V.T. Sambanthan. The Union Jack was lowered from the flagpole at the Padang (now known as Dataran Merdeka; Independence Square) and the Malayan flag was raised. The Padang symbolized British sovereignty as it was a cricket ground for the colonial administrators and fronted the Royal Selangor Club, Malaya’s most exclusive Whites-Only club. In 1974 Kuala Lumpur seceded from Selangor and the city became a Federal Territory (Wilayah Persekutuan).
How to go to Stadium Merdeka?