This 31 August is Malaysia's 60th Independence Day! In honour of this momentous occasion, the annual Merdeka Day celebrations have a different twist this year – it will involve a re-enactment of the 1957 independence celebration at Dataran Merdeka (Independence Square), complete with a makeover of the square as well as performances and costumes suitable to that time period.
Themed ‘Negaraku Sehati Sejiwa’ (My Country, One Heart, One Soul), the highlight of the celebrations will be the performances that showcase the colonial era in Malaysia and the declarations of independence and Malaysia Day. Also included will be an overview of how Malaysia has developed as a nation under the various Prime Ministers.
Over 11,500 participants from schools, security forces, cultural troupes and more will be involved in the elaborate performances, with a field presentation, a parade, a band performance and an air show among the expected schedule of activities.
You can catch the parade televised live on most local channels such as RTM1 (Channel 101 on Astro). If you plan to turn out to catch the celebrations live, here are some tips for the aspiring paradegoer:
Where to go: Dataran Merdeka
When to go: The celebrations have historically begun at 8am. It’s advised to be there by 7am or earlier. The parade should end around 10am. If you have to leave before it ends, make sure you don’t find yourself stuck on the other side of the road as you won’t be able to cross until the parade is over.
How to go: Don’t drive; parking is tricky to find in Kuala Lumpur at the best of times and most roads will be closed for the parade. Take the LRT instead (top up your Touch 'n Gos!) to Masjid Jamek station. From there, it’s a short walk to Dataran Merdeka.
What to bring: Bring water – plenty of it – and a hand fan to keep cool. You might be lucky enough to get free flags if you stand near the parade area. Check the weather forecast and bring umbrellas and sunscreen as necessary. Keep an eye on your belongings in case of pickpockets.
Looking for somewhere happening to ring in Merdeka Day and the long weekend on the 30th? We’ve got your Merdeka party roundup right here.