Merdeka Day means so much more than just watching parade of decorated cars, Royal inspection, flags raising, Rukun Negara recitation and cultural and patriotic performances. It represents the historic beginning of Malaysia’s independence.
The momentous day has been a symbol of our nation’s togetherness, strength, and patriotism to this day. As we countdown to welcome the 64th Malaysia Independence Day, here are some interesting facts about Merdeka day that you might not know but definitely should.
1. “Merdeka, Merdeka, Merdeka!” exclaimed Tunku Abdul Rahman. He exclaimed 7 times not 3
The Declaration of Independence was declared and officiated at the Merdeka Stadium on August 31, 1957, by Tunku Abdul Rahman, the first Prime Minister of Malaysia. The memorable “Merdeka” chant, contrary to common perception, was not mentioned three times.
In reality, in front of a crowd of more than 20,000 people, the Father of Independence exclaimed “Merdeka” seven times, followed by the echoes of Malaysians present at the time.
2. The Malaysian flag was designed by an architect
The Malaysian flag, a.k.a. “Jalur Gemilang”, was designed by Mohamad Hamzah, an architect who worked for the Public Works Department.
Jalur Gemilang’s 14 red and white stripes represent the country’s 13 states and the federal territories; the star embodies the unity among these states while the crescent symbolises Islam as the official religion.
3. Negaraku was previously a state anthem
Tunku Abdul Rahman presided over the song selection for Malaya’s first national anthem a few weeks before the Declaration of Independence.
The Federation of Malaya Police Force Band performed four songs during the selection process. The winner was “Terang Bulan,” which was once Perak’s state song.
Tunku Abdul Rahman titled the song “Negaraku” because of the traditional Malay element. After the Declaration of Independence on August 31, 1957, our national anthem was played for the first time.
4. Malaysia's oldest name in recorded history is Aurea Chersonesus
The name Aurea Chersonesus, which means “peninsula of gold”, was discovered in Ptolemy’s Geographica, a book published about A.D. 150 by a Greco-Roman geographer, nearly 2,000 years ago!
Malaysia has also been known as Tanah Melayu, Malayan Union, and Federation of Malaya, in addition to Aurea Chersonesus.
5. The road to Independence was not a one-man show
During the early stages of the Malaya Merdeka conference at the Lancaster House in London, Tunku Abdul Rahman was accompanied by several highly-regarded political figures, including Dato’ Abdul Razak Hussein, Dr. Ismail Abdul Rahman, Encik Bahaman Shamsuddin, Colonel H.S. Lee, Mr. T.H. Tan, and four of the Malay rulers.
Although Tunku Abdul Rahman, the Father of Independence, was the person who led the negotiation for independence in 1956, the negotiation was a joint effort by the leaders of different races in Malaya.
6. Sabah, Sarawak and Singapore joined later on
After Malaya gained its independence, the formation of the Federation of Malaya was expanded to include Sabah, Sarawak and Singapore. After years of political tussle with the Philippines and Indonesia, the new federation was born in 1963.
In 1965, Singapore left the federation to become an independent country. Eventually, the Federation of Malaya consists of the Malaya peninsular, Sabah and Sarawak.
7. The first non-Bumiputera Malaysian citizen certificate bearer was a 17-year-old girl
Kok Shoo Yin, who was 17 at the time, was the first non-Bumiputera to acquire Malaysian citizenship when her certificate and documentation were accepted on November 14, 1957, according to ASEAN Today.
Following the drafting of the Malaysian Constitution, all Chinese and Indian migrants in Malaysia will be granted Malaysian citizenship, as agreed by our forefathers.
SAVE BIG with myMerdeka Campaign!
In conjunction with the upcoming Malaysia’s National Day, myIOU, your Buy Now Pay Later (BNPL) service provider in Malaysia, has launched the myMerdeka campaign.
Through this campaign, there are two kinds of vouchers up for grabs — the myMerdeka16 voucher and myMerdeka64 voucher. For the myMerdeka16 voucher, consumers who make a minimum purchase of RM200 will be entitled to a RM16 discount from the total purchase price from 16th to 31st August.
Each consumer can claim the myMerdeka16 voucher up to a maximum of five times. As for the myMerdeka64 voucher, with a minimum spend of RM800, consumers are entitled to a RM64 discount from the total purchase price. This exclusive promotion is only available on 31st August.
Not just that! myIOU will be giving away 31 vouchers worth RM150 each to top 31 spenders.
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