Tunku Abdul Rahman, the first Prime Minister of Malaysia, led a delegation of ministers and political leaders of Malaya in an effort to negotiate with the British in London for independence along with the first president of the Malaysian Chinese Association (MCA) Tun Dato Sri Tan Cheng Lock and fifth President of Malaysian Indian Congress Tun V. T. Sambanthan.
On the night of 30 August 1957, more than 20,000 people gathered at Merdeka Square (Padang Merdeka) in Kuala Lumpur to witness the handover of power from the British. And when the midnight bell chimed, the Union Flag in the square was lowered as the royal anthem ‘God Save the Queen’ played. The new Flag of Malaya was raised as the national anthem Negaraku was played. This was followed by seven chants of “Merdeka” by the crowd.
On the morning after, the festivities moved to Merdeka Stadium. More than 20,000 people were present to witness the ceremony. Those in attendance included rulers of the Malay states, foreign dignitaries, members of the federal cabinet, and citizens. The Queen’s representative, the Duke of Gloucester presented Tunku Abdul Rahman with the instrument of independence. Tunku then proceeded to read the Proclamation of Independence, which culminated in the chanting of “Merdeka!” seven times with the crowd joining in. The National Flag of Malaya was then raised, accompanied by the national anthem being played by a military band and a 21-gun salute, followed by an azan call and a thanksgiving prayer in honour of this great occasion.
Fast forward to 2020, the world is plague by the Covid-19 pandemic and the nation’s politics are in disarray. Yet, the most important event that played out in 2020 was the fact that many people lost their lives to the deadly virus. We can confidently say that most of us do not even remember 2020’s Merdeka. What transpired that day was honestly washed away by the number of cases our country had to deal with.
Sure, Merdeka 2021 will be an eventful occasion as well. For the second time in history, we have seen a change of government after the previous prime minister, Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin resigned, after a short stint 17 months in office. He handed his resignation to the king on 21 August, just ten days shy of Merdeka. During the seat vacancy, our nation was grappled with the news of who will be the one to succeed Tan Sri Muhyiddin. And to no one surprise, Dato’ Sri Ismail Sabri became the 9th Prime Minister of Malaysia.
The new prime minister has come up with a new idea for his administration, ‘Malaysian Family’, or ‘Keluarga Malaysia’ in an effort to prevent further political tensions from rocking the country during the Covid-19 health crisis.
In the spirit of Malaysian Family, we must put aside our differences, political or otherwise, and develop the country better, together. We should never forget the sacrifices that our forefathers have made in order to make what we have today possible for us. It is our job to make sure we tell our story in a way that would make them proud. We owe this much to our children and great-grandchildren.
Happy Merdeka peeps!
Photo Credit: https://www.thesundaily.my