The Colombo Plan Staff College (CPSC) wishes to extend its full cooperation in the celebration and commemoration of the Republic of Malaysia on its 66th Independence Day (Hari Merdeka) this August 31, 2023. May we all embrace the spirit of nationhood so that we can all work together towards the path to economic and social development!


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.

Tunku Abdul Rahman addressing the Malayan people during 31 August 1957

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.

2023 Celebrations

Hari Merdeka Celebrations (Photo from mm2h)

Merdeka Day is a public holiday celebrated every 31st of August. Annually, this day is expected to be a big celebration with participation from all walks of life: government and public officials, schools, cultural performances, etc.

This year, the annual parade will be conducted at Putra Square in Putrajaya, the federal administrative center of Malaysia. The parade is expected to bring in a considerable amount of crowd close to over 100,000 visitors. This year, the parade will be split into 10 components in total representing various facets of the nation. This includes Nationhood, Unity, Malaysia Madani, Economy, Banking, Telecommunication, Creative Industry, Community, National Sports, and National Welfare and Security.

Per practice, the Malaysian Armed Forces and Police will be spearheading the parade and will showcase mobilization of more than 500 vehicle assets. Naturally as tradition dictates, the procession will feature everything from members enlisted in civil service to popular local entertainers. Where the latter is concerned, Nadeera Zaini, Suki Low, Roshini Balachandran, and Zizi Kirana have been confirmed as among the notable acts to stage a performance on the day, accompanied by 100 dancers and 400 drummers of various races. The parade ends with a spectacular fireworks display enjoyed by thousands of spectators from all over Malaysia.

  1. 2023 Merdeka Day Parade: How to get there, best seats, what to expect's,Unity%2C%20Filled%20with%20Hope).
  2. Malaysia Day: The History Behind It
  3. When is Hari Kebangsaan Malaysia - Malaysia Independence Day?