Guide to Merdeka Parades & Where to Watch Them

On August 31, 1957, Malaysia declared its independence from the British. Merdeka is also frequently referred to as National Day and Malaysia Independence Day.

Introduction to Malaysia’s Independence Day (Merdeka Day)

On August 31, 1957, the Federation of Malaya declared independence from British authority. The official Malayan Declaration of Independence was announced at 9:30 am at the Stadium Merdeka in Kuala Lumpur in front of guests including Thailand’s King and Queen. More than 20,000 individuals gathered to celebrate their new country’s independence.

A crowd gathered at Merdeka Square on August 30, 1957, the night before the official proclamation, to witness the creation of an independent nation. The lights were then switched off for 2 minutes from 11:58 pm. Malaysia’s new flag was raised in place of the British Union Jack and for the first time in the new country, the lights were turned back on for a fresh new start.

Every year since then, Merdeka has been widely celebrated by people from all walks of life, including various government and public services, educational institutions, cultural performances, marching bands, and many more.

What is the Merdeka Parade?

What is Merdeka Parade in Malaysia

The Merdeka Parade, which is also known as Independence Day Parade and National Day Parade, is held annually on August 31st to commemorate Malaya’s independence. Since independence, the event has usually been hosted at Kuala Lumpur’s Independence Square, often referred to as Dataran Merdeka, the original site of the first Merdeka Parade on September 1st, 1957.

The fun of the Merdeka Day Parade begins after a slew of politicians and VIPs take turns at the microphone on stage. The day is filled with a royal procession, cultural performances, military demonstrations, complex floats, sporting competitions, and other entertaining distractions. Make sure to get yourself a Jalur Gemilang, the national flag, and wave it proudly!

The Merdeka Parade has travelled around Malaysia, yet it always returns to Merdeka Square, where it all started.

Where to Watch the Merdeka Parade?

If you want to feel the true spirit of the Merdeka Day Parade, we recommend you to watch the Merdeka Parade at the Dataran Merdeka. However, the location of the parade may vary as from 2011 until 2017, the festival was hosted at Dataran Merdeka in Kuala Lumpur, near the Perdana Lake Gardens and Chinatown. The parade was then relocated to Putra Square in Putrajaya, just south of the city, in 2018. 

So, make sure you’re always up to date on Merdeka Day’s whereabouts on Merdeka 360, or ask any local where the Merdeka parade will be this year.

What To Bring for the Merdeka Parade

If you plan on attending the Merdeka Parade, pack plenty of water and a hand fan to keep yourself cool. With Malaysia’s weather, you must be prepared with anything that will keep you refreshed and energised for the parade. 

Also, if you stand near the parade location, you might be able to acquire free flags, but if not, simply bring one from home! In addition, check the weather forecast ahead of time and pack your umbrellas just in case. 

Don’t forget to bring your sunscreen too! Plus, keep a watch on your belongings to avoid pickpockets because there will be a huge crowd there! 

Merdeka Parade in Merdeka Square Kuala Lumpur

What to Expect at the Merdeka Parade

The parade will begin at 8:00 am and end around 10:30 am. The National Day Parade will feature an assortment of the nation’s military and law enforcement forces. Tanks, missile launchers, and fighter jets are among them. 

Representatives from ministries, government agencies, and Malaysia’s national athletes who competed in the Commonwealth Games, the ASEAN Para Games, and the SEA Games will also be present.

Four floats by Malaysia Digital Economy Corporation, Measat, Petronas-Tenaga Nasional Bhd, and numerous telecommunications businesses will go public as well!

Ministers and officials from the Armed Forces, Royal Malaysian Air Force, Royal Malaysian Navy, and Royal Malaysia Police will attend alongside the Yang di-Pertuan Agong and Raja Permaisuri Agong.

Enjoying the Merdeka Parade on TV

If you are unable to attend the Independence Day Parade, it will be broadcast live on the Communication and Multimedia Ministry’s Facebook page, Merdeka 360, and the Malaysia Information Department, as well as TV1, MHI, Astro Awani, TV Alhijrah, Bernama TV, TV Sarawak (TVS), Awesome TV, and Suke TV. 

It is also accessible via the Merdeka 360, the information portal for the Malaysia Day Parade and celebrations.

Drive with SOCAR

Both locals and tourists should attend the Merdeka Parade. It will undoubtedly teach you about the beauty of Malaysia’s history and rich culture. With SOCAR, you can arrange transportation to this yearly festival! You can commute to wherever you wish every day for as little as RM6 per hour!

Renting a car hourly, daily, weekly, or even monthly with the SOCAR car rental app is a simple way to have flexible connections around Malaysia. Book a car now!

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