5 Spots You Can Visit to Embrace the Merdeka Spirit!
Things are a little closer to home right now as we’re almost at that time of the year again where cars, houses, and many other places will fly the Jalur Gemilang with unbridled national pride. This year, as we’re slowly but surely transitioning into endemicity, it may be time for us Malaysians to transcend beyond just hanging the Jalur Gemilang.
When speaking of national pride, nothing beats the feel of visiting Malaysia’s beloved historical spots that have been monumental in the growth of this nation. Embracing that Malaysian spirit on a first-hand basis allows us to truly grasp and absorb the journey that has led us to the day where the words “Merdeka! Merdeka! Merdeka!” was said unanimously by Malaysians in 1957.
Look no further if you’re looking to appreciate and pay homage to the crucial parts of our history! We’ve got you covered! Here are 5 spots you can visit to embrace the Malaysian spirit!
#1 Dataran Merdeka (Merdeka Square)
Dataran Merdeka is one of the most important historical landmarks in Malaysia. It marked the liberation of Malaysia from the colonial grasp of the British in 1957. On the 31st of August 1957, is when the Union Jack was lowered and replaced with the Malaysia flag, signalling the end of the British reign.
Today, on a regular windy day, you’ll be able to see the Jalur Gemilang flying in all its glory in Dataran Merdeka. On top of a scenic city skyline backdrop, you can also seize this opportunity to enjoy the open air whilst taking some Instagram-worthy shots.
Furthermore, Dataran Merdeka has been a staple spot for amazing and colourful fireworks to commemorate Independence Day. This tradition has cemented core childhood memories for many throughout the years.
ADDRESS: Jalan Raja, City Centre, 50050 Kuala Lumpur, Wilayah Persekutuan Kuala Lumpur
#2 Tunku Abdul Rahman Putra Memorial
Tunku Abdul Rahman Putra Al-Haj has played an important role in Malaysia’s liberation process. However, taking on the role of the nation’s first-ever prime minister is no easy feat. Tunku Abdul Rahman and a few selected leaders from the then Alliance Party took a trip to London in 1957 to negotiate Malaya’s independence. This trip is a significant moment in our nation’s long and arduous journey of securing independence.
As a sign of appreciation and admiration towards our beloved Father of Independence, the Tunku Abdul Rahman Putra Memorial was established to display the legacies left by Tunku including important paperwork, photographs, souvenirs, news coverages, attires, and furniture once used by the national icon. Visitors can also enjoy an audiovisual presentation about Tunku.
This is one of the best places to bring your kids to kick start their journey of embracing the Malaysian spirit!
ADDRESS: Jalan Dato Onn, Kuala Lumpur, 50480 Kuala Lumpur, Wilayah Persekutuan Kuala Lumpur
OPERATING HOURS: 9.00 am – 5.00 pm, everyday. Operating hours may differ on Friday due to the Friday prayers.
MERDEKA! MERDEKA! MERDEKA!Tunku Abdul Putra Al-Haj, 1957
#3 National Monument (Tugu Negara)
The famous National Monument, also known as Tugu Negara, is a mighty man-made bronze sculpture that pays homage to those who died in combat during Malaysia’s battle for freedom against the Japanese occupation during World War II and the Malayan Emergency that lasted from 1948 until 1960.
This monument signifies the bravery, courage, and integrity of the fighters who nobly sacrificed their blood, sweat, tears, and lives for Malaysia’s independence. This monument has also successfully etched its name as one of the tallest freestanding groups of bronze sculptures.
In these current times, the Tugu Negara stands tall and proud amongst the concrete jungle that is Kuala Lumpur.
ADDRESS: Perdana Botanical Garden, Jalan Parlimen, Kuala Lumpur City Centre, 50480 Kuala Lumpur
OPERATING HOURS: 24 hours. Keep a lookout for the weather before visiting, as it’s an open space.
#4 Kota A-Famosa, Melaka
The Kota A-Famosa has seen its fair share of historical events since its first establishment in the 1500s. This watchtower has been instrumental in warding off enemy territories during the Portuguese reign in Malacca. Since then, the Kota A-Famosa has seen many changes in colonial powers and its fate as well.
Narrowly escaping complete demolition in the 1790s, this robust fort now serves as a historical landmark referred to in various history textbooks and on significant occasions. If you’re looking to enrich your understanding of one of our nation’s key historical events, visiting this site will allow you to engage with history in a way that provides greater local contextualization and a deep-rooted connection with the people who are from that era.
ADDRESS: Jalan Parameswara, Bandar Hilir, 78000 Alor Gajah, Melaka
OPERATING HOURS: 24 hours. However, please be mindful of the weather before going.
#5 Sultan Abdul Samad Building
Sultan Abdul Samad Building has copper domes and a clock tower that reaches to the sky, at 40 metres high. Since its inception in 1894, this legendary venue has served as a High Court, Supreme Court, and even government offices at one point.
The building was renamed after Sultan Abdul Samad who was the Sultan of Selangor in 1974. According to historical reports, the tower’s clock was demolished during the Japanese air raid in the early 1940s. After the air raid, the clock was reportedly not functioning for a brief period.
At the present, the Sultan Abdul Samad Building is partially occupied by the Ministry of Information, Communications, and Culture. The interior of the building is off limits to the public. However, the illuminated exterior of the building during the night is a significant attention spot for photographers who crave the city lights’ aesthetic.
Be on the lookout, though! From time to time, various ministries may launch an exhibition that is accessible to the public in the building.
ADDRESS: Jln Raja, Kuala Lumpur City Centre, 50050 Kuala Lumpur, Federal Territory of Kuala Lumpur
OPERATING HOURS: The exterior of the building is open for the public, with nighttime being a major highlight. However, the interior is off-limits to the public.
If you’re visiting any of Malaysia’s historical landmarks, please do share pictures with us by tagging us on social media with the handle @1twenty80. We can’t wait to be a part of your patriotic adventures!