Decolonisation (1957-1966)/ Records of Hari Merdeka (Independence Day)

Video of Independence Ceremony © 1957, Malayan Film Unit

Photograph of Independence Ceremony © 1957, Pathé News

On 31 August 1957, the independence ceremony of Malaya was held in the newly completed Merdeka Stadium. Merdeka Stadium, which is one of the projects in the Agong’s 1963 list was specially built for holding the Independence Ceremony on Hari Merdeka(Independence Day). In the ceremony, national flag was raised with national anthem being played. The first prime minister of Malay Tunku Abdul Rahman read the Proclamation of Independence and led the attendees to chant “Merdeka” seven times. Over 20,000 people witnessed this great occasion including foreign guests of honour and Malay citizens. A witnesses, Raymond Tan, who is 76 now, recalled that the Merdeka Stadium was full and people were very excited to gain independence from the British that they shouted “Merdeka” repeatedly. Even after many years, the Merdeka Stadium was still an significant symbol of the independence day that Malay people remember and celebrate.



Tunku Abdul Rahmam chanted “Merdeka” seven times on August 31,1957


Historical News report of Preparation for Independence Day © 1957, Pathé News

Pathé News was a British producer of news reports and documentaries since 1910. The first part of the video shows the face lift of Federal Secretariat building in Kuala Lumpur, which formerly served as the Federal Courts and now as government offices. The second part is the scene of Sir Donald MacGillivray signing the Malayan independence agreement in the King’s house. The video ends with the report of British soldiers staying in Malay to support the newly formed Malaya.




31 Ogos 1957, Malaya Merdeka, 1957 (video file), Availiable from: <>.  [14 December 2015].

Malaya’s New Era, 1957 (video file), Availiable from: <>. [14 December 2015].

Malaysia : Before and After Independence, 2009 (video file), Availiable from: <>. [14 December 2015].

Poskod Malaysia, Memories of Merdeka – What independence means to two people who were there from the start. Available from: <>. [14 December 2015].

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