Background and History
31 August 1957 marks the day that the Federation of Malaya gained its Independence from British colonization, forming what we know of today as Malaysia. Hence, 31 August is a National Public Holiday to commemorate and celebrate the freedom and independence gained. This day is also known as Hari Merdeka in the Malay language and that is why the celebration of Independence Day is incomplete without the seven shouts of "Merdeka!", the gesture initiated by the First Prime Minister of Malaysia, Tunku Abdul Rahman back in 1957 at Dataran Merdeka.
The effort for independence was spearheaded by Tunku Abdul Rahman Putra Al-Haj, the first Prime Minister of Malaysia. He led a delegation of ministers and political leaders of Malaya in negotiations with the British officials in London for independence, along with the first president of the Malayan Chinese Association (MCA), Tun Tan Cheng Lock and fifth President of Malaysian Indian Congress (MIC), 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 8 February 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 following year. Tunku arrived home from London with the good news that independence would finally come to Malaya.
Between the years 1955-57, the Tunku and his cabinet prepared the Malayan Constitution, discussed the administration of justice, cemented racial harmony in the country and resolved to beat the Communists. Finally, Tunku Abdul Rahman led the nation when he shouted "Merdeka" seven times at the newly-built Merdeka Stadium on 31 August 1957.
National Day / Promotion Logo Theme and Theme Song 2018
In commemoration of the 61st Hari Merdeka, Communications and Multimedia Minister Gobind Singh Deo unveiled during a press conference the official theme and logo for this year's festivities. He declared that the Malaysia National Day 2018 logo aims to "portray Malaysians of different races living in diversity, harmony and unity, with a strong affection for the nation". The logo features three individuals lifting their hands and the shape of a heart uniting them, revolving around the theme "Sayangi Malaysiaku" (Love My Malaysia).
The logo was selected out of 632 entries received by the Communications and Multimedia Ministry, which invited Malaysians in June this year to create a logo that will be used for the 2018 National Day and Malaysia Day celebrations.The minister also unveiled the National Day 2018 theme song "Kita Punya Malaysia", which according to him has a catchy and "vibrant pop beat". Sung by Malaysian rock band, Bunkface, this year's theme song portrays Malaysia as belonging to Malaysians, who will need to be united in its diversity. The song also urges Malaysians to have "a high degree of self-esteem" while working together to develop Malaysia.
National Day celebrations commenced at Penang's Padang Kota Lama with the launch of the "National Month" and "Fly the Jalur Gemilang 2018" events by Prime Minister Dr Mahathir Mohamed on 4 August. Penang witnessed interesting events such as a fireworks display, Kembara Merdeka Jalur Gemilang roadshow, buskers' performance, Caring Bridge and MyMerdeka exhibitions, food truck carnival, Merdeka Run and FAMA My Best Buy Sale, among others, to encourage citizens to participate in the lead up to the National Day 2018 celebrations. Minister Deo said Penang was chosen as the government wanted the "Fly the Jalur Gemilang" roadshow to begin in the north of Peninsular Malaysia, before moving on to Putrajaya and ending in Sabah for the Malaysia Day 2018 celebrations.
In a move away from tradition, following the shift of governance, the 2018 Hari Merdeka national day will not be celebrated in Dataran Merdeka but instead, the new government has decided to change the annual celebration's venue to Putrajaya. According to Minister Deo, the Malaysian administrative capital has been chosen because the government wants to pay homage to the unexpected GE14 win by changing the venue. He said that choosing Putrajaya symbolizes "the administration of the new government under Pakatan Harapan".
Images from the 2017 Malaysia National Day:
[Manaweblife] (31 August 2017). 2017 ( 60th ) Malaysia national day celebration at Dataran Merdeka ( 1 ) [Video File]. Retrieved from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cuZtl_bAdk4
Hossain Md. Kabir (31 August 2017). Merdeka 2017 Malaysia. Independence Day 2017 Malaysia. [Video File]. Retrieved from: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3-6YVdzZt1k
[Don Carleone] (31 August 2017). Merdeka Day Parade 2017 at Merdeka square. [Video File]. Retrieved from: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Z601GFlTpAA
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- Malaysia Independence Day. (n.d.). Retrieved August 28, 2018, from https://www.gettyimages.com/event/malaysia-independence-day-775031765#/malaysian-student-wave-their-malaysia-flag-at-merdeka-square-on-31-picture-id841073494
- Malaysia Public Holidays (2016). "Start Planning: Merdeka Day 2016 and 2017". Retrieved on August 24, 2017 at http://publicholidays.com.my/national-day/
- Malaysian National Day 2018 truly historic celebration. (2018, July 28). Retrieved August 28, 2018, from https://borneobulletin.com.bn/malaysian-national-day-2018-truly-historic-celebration/
- Kuala Lumpur by Hotels (2016). Merdeka Day Celebrations in Kuala Lumpur". Retrieved on August 24, 2017 at http://www.kuala-lumpur.ws/magazine/merdeka-day.htm
- Tan, J. (2018, July 30). Malaysia National Day 2018 logo picked from netizen entries unveiled. Retrieved August 28, 2018, from https://www.marketing-interactive.com/malaysia-national-day-2018-logo-picked-from-netizen-entries-unveiled/
- Walden, M. (2017, August 31). Public holidays, calls for unity as Malaysia celebrates 60th Independence Day. Retrieved August 28, 2018, from https://asiancorrespondent.com/2017/08/public-holidays-calls-unity-malaysia-celebrates-60th-year-independence/