Sunday, August 29, 2010


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. In a wider context, it is to celebrate the formation of Malaysia.

Malaysia Independence

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.

Once it became increasingly clear that the Communist threat posed during the Malayan Emergency was petering out, agreement was reached on February 8, 1956, for Malaya to gain independence from the British Empire. However, for a number of logistical and administrative reasons, it was decided that the official proclamation of independence would only be made the next year, on August 31, 1957, at Stadium Merdeka (Independence Stadium), in Kuala Lumpur

The formation of Malaysia

Tunku Abdul Rahman Putra Al-Haj announced the independence of Malaya from the British on August 31, 1957 at Stadium Merdeka.

The Federation of Malaysia, comprising the States of Malaya, North Borneo (later renamed Sabah), Sarawak and Singapore was to be officially declared on the date August 31, 1963, on the 6th anniversary of Malayan independence. However, it was postponed to September 16, 1963, mainly due to Indonesian and the Philippines' opposition to the formation of Malaysia. Nevertheless, North Borneo and Singapore declared sovereignty on August 31, 1963. Indonesian opposition later escalated to a military conflict. Indonesia considered Malaysia as a new form of colonization on the provinces of Sarawak and Sabah in the island of Borneo (bordering Kalimantan, Indonesia), which they laid claim on. To assure Indonesia that Malaysia was not a form of neo-colonialism, a referendum, organized by the United Nations, and the Cobbold Commission, led by Lord Cobbold, were formed to determine whether the people of Sabah and Sarawak wished to join Malaysia. Their eventual findings which indicated substantial support for Malaysia among the peoples of Sabah and Sarawak, cleared the way for the final proclamation of Malaysia.

The formation of the Federation of Malaysia was then announced on September 16, 1963 as Malaysia Day. The nationwide Independence Day celebration is still held on August 31, the original independence date of Malaya, while Malaysia Day is a public holiday only in East Malaysia. However, this has caused some minor discontent among East Malaysians in particular since it has been argued that celebrating the national day on August 31 is too Malaya-centric.[It is decided that starting 2010, Malaysia Day will be a nationwide public holiday in addition to Hari Merdeka on August 31.

[edit] Guests of Honour

When Malaya celebrated its first Independence Day, new hotels were built everywhere in Kuala Lumpur to accommodate the huge foreign delegation invited by the Government of the Federation of Malaya to witness the historical day.
The historical event was captured by Malayan Film Unit, below are the recorded arrival of the guest of honour.
    • Part 1 (The arrival of the foreign delegation)
    • Part 2 (The Merdeka event took place at the then newly opened Stadium Merdeka, with the Tunku's famous sevenfold cry of "Merdeka!" and the first performance of the national anthem)
    • Part 3 (The installation of His Majesty Yang Di-Pertuan Agong)
    • Part 4 (Military Parade and opening of the Malayan Parliament)
The first batch of foreign representatives to Malaya were:
Upon arriving at the Sungei Besi Airport, the guests of honour were welcomed by the British High Commissioner in Malaya, Sir Donald Charles MacGillivray and Lady MacGillivray, the First Yang di-Pertuan Agong of Malaya, Tuanku Abdul Rahman accompanied by the Raja Permaisuri Agong and the first Prime Minister of Malaya, Tunku Abdul Rahman.


In nearly every year, a brand new theme and logo were made for the celebration of the Independence Day of Malaysia.
Year Theme Logo
1970 Muhibah dan Perpaduan
(Love and Unity)
1971 Masyarakat Progresif
(Progressive Society)
1972 Masyarakat Adil
(Fair Society)
1973 Masyarakat Berkebudayaan Malaysia
(A Society with Malaysian Culture)
1974 Sains dan Teknologi Alat Perpaduan
(Science and Technology as Tools of Unity)
1975 Masyarakat Berdikari
(A Self-Reliant Society)
1976 Ketahanan Rakyat
(Strength of the People)

1977 Bersatu Maju
(United and Progressive)

1978 Kebudayaan Sendi Perpaduan
(Culture is the Core of Unity)

1979 Bersatu Berdisplin
(United and Disciplined)

1980 Berdisplin Berbakti
(Discipline and Service)

1981 Berdisplin Berharmoni
(Discipline and Harmony)

1982 Berdisplin Giat Maju
(Discipline Creates Progress)

1983 Bersama Ke Arah Kemajuan
(Together Towards Success)

1984 Amanah Asas Kejayaan
(Honesty Brings Success)

1985 Nasionalisme Teras Perpaduan
(Nationalism is the Core of Unity)

1986 Bangsa Tegas Negara Teguh
(Steadfast Society, Strong Country)

1987 Setia Bersatu Berusaha Maju
(Loyally United and Progressively Working)

1988 Bersatu

1989 Bersatu

1990 Berjaya

1991 Wawasan 2020
(Vision 2020)

1992 Wawasan Asas Kemajuan
(Vision is the Basis of Progress)

1993 Bersatu Menuju Wawasan
(Together Towards Vision)

1994 Nilai Murni Jayakan Wawasan
(Good Values Makes the Vision a Success)

1995 Jatidiri Pengerak Wawasan
(Steadfastness Moves the Vision Forward)

1996 Budaya Penentu Kecapaian
(Culture Determines Achievements )

1997 Akhlak Mulia Masyarakat Jaya
(Good Values Make a Successful Society)

1998 Negara Kita, Tanggungjawab Kita
(Our Country, Our Responsibility)

1999 Bersatu Ke Alaf Baru
(Together Towards the New Millennium)

2000–2006 Keranamu: MALAYSIA
(Because of you: MALAYSIA)

2007 Malaysiaku Gemilang
(My Glorious Malaysia)

2008 Perpaduan Teras Kejayaan
(Unity Is The Core of Success)

2009 1 Malaysia, Rakyat Didahulukan, Pencapaian Diutamakan
(1 Malaysia, People First, Performance Now)

2010 1 Malaysia, Menjana Transformasi
(1 Malaysia, Generates Transformation)

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