Crowds return to Dataran Merdeka as Malaysians mark Merdeka Day 2022

·4-min read
Malaysians gathering for the National Day celebrations and parade on the 31st of August 2022. (Photo: Yahoo Malaysia)
Malaysians showed up as early as 5.30am to be at Dataran Merdeka. (Photo: Huda Hekmet for Yahoo Malaysia)

KUALA LUMPUR — After two years of absence, this year's Malaysian National Day was again marked by thousands of flags waving in the heart of Kuala Lumpur at the Independence Square (Dataran Merdeka), the historic site where the Declaration of Independence was first unfurled on 31 August, 1957.

Over 280,000 people watched the live stream celebrations hosted by RTM (Radio Televisyen Malaysia), and more than 20,000 people caught the parade in person.

Malaysians from all walks of life started arriving as early as 5am to wait for the celebrations, trying to grasp a spot close to the main stage, which could offer a good view of the procession.

Participants paid tribute to their motherland by wearing shirts, scarves, and headdresses (tengkolok) with Malaysian designs.

A man in an Iban costume posing with a woman during the National Day parade in Malaysia on the 31st of August 2022. (Photo: Yahoo Singapore)
Malaysians showed up in traditional attire to celebrate the day. (Photo: Huda Hekmet for Yahoo Malaysia)

The parade returns

At 7.45am, the Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob, and his wife, Datin Seri Muhaini Zainal Abidin, arrived.

Shortly after, the King and Queen, Yang di-Pertuan Agong, Al-Sultan Abdullah Ri'ayatuddin Al-Mustafa Billah Shah, and Tunku Azizah Aminah Maimunah Iskandariah, arrived in a royal carriage to start the official celebration at 8am. ​​

The parade started with Lieutenant Colonel Mohamad Asri Che leading the firing of 14 cannons representing the 14 states of Malaysia as five helicopters representing the five national (Rukun Negara) flew above the sky.

Malaysians then joined each other in song and waved flags as the national anthem (Negaraku) reverberated across the street.

After that, the Royal Salute was performed for His Majesty as he observed the Guard of Honour, which consisted of four officers and 103 members led by Major Nurul Fauzan Md Sabri.

State leaders and attendees recited the National Principles (Rukun Negara) led by national sprinter Muhammad Azeem Fahmi before the independence chant "Merdeka" was repeated seven times.

This year's parade included 60 cadet officers and trainees from the Royal Malaysian Police Training Centre carrying the Malaysian flag, 65 high-powered bikes from the Malaysian High-Powered Motorcycle Association, and 84 indigenous people (Orang Asli) led by Datuk Ramli Mohd Noor.

Cadets and trainees from the Royal Malaysian Police Training Centre marching, carrying the Malaysia. flag during the Malaysia National Day parade on the 31st of August 2022. (Photo: Yahoo Malaysia)
The cadets and trainees of Royal Malaysian Police Training Centre marching during the parade. (Photo: Huda Hekmat for Yahoo Malaysia)

Also spotted were firefighters who posed and waved to people from their fire trucks, as well as members from the Malaysian Armed Forces (ATM), the Royal Malaysian Police, and the Malaysian Maritime Enforcement Agency, who were among the crowd favourites, especially with the children.

Malaysian athletes, who represented the country in the 2022 Birmingham Commonwealth Games, were seen on two "hop-on, hop-off" buses and garnered a massive ovation from the crowd.

The national day procession also included decorated cars, and colourful floats of local animated characters such as BoBoiBoy, and Didi and Friends among others.

Probably the most beautiful sight of all was witnessing the young children wearing Malaysian-themed shirts including a picture of the flag or the Malayan tiger waving their mini flags and waving to their heroes in the parade.

"I wear this shirt because it has the Jalur Gemilang (Malaysian Flag) on it," commented one child, as he proudly waved his mini flag.

A woman carrying the flag of Malaysia during the National day celebrations in Malaysia. (Photo: Yahoo Malaysia)
There were a lot of proud Malaysians in the crowd. (Photo: Huda Hekmat for Yahoo Malaysia)

"We were very excited to celebrate this year, especially after a difficult two years of the pandemic. I am happy to be here today," said one mother, who was sporting a Malaysian flag-themed scarf.

The parade ended at 11am, and the crowds continued to cheer as the king and queen expressed their love for their people by gesturing "finger hearts" from their car windows as they left.

As a Malaysian resident who has been in Malaysia for over 30 years, the celebration went beyond just the parade.

I watched with pride as people celebrated their country's independence for the 65th time. Many of the faces I passed today greeted me with a smile, some even offering water or a place to sit when I felt tired.

It was a kind reminder of the hospitality and generosity of the people of this country.

This was my first time celebrating National Day at Dataran Merdeka, and I would do it again in a heartbeat.

Huda Hekmat is an educator, content writer, and Jiu-Jitsu practitioner. She is currently doing her masters in Educational Psychology. When she isn't teaching, writing, or trying to armbar her fellow gym mates, you can find her reading a thriller, watching a stand-up comedy, or on the hunt to find the best nasi lemak in KL.

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