Historic and iconic Stadium Merdeka to re-open in 2nd quarter of 2024

An old image of Stadium Merdeka courtesy of Stadium Merdeka FB

KUALA LUMPUR, Jan 13 (Bernama) — The re-opening of Merdeka Stadium, where the cries of ‘MERDEKA!’ first reverberated in 1957, in the second quarter of this year will serve as a reminder to Malaysians about the patriotic spirit that led to the country’s independence, says National Council of Professors senior fellow Prof Emeritus Datuk Dr Teo Kok Seong.

He said this was because the historic stadium was specially built for the declaration of independence of the Federation of Malaya on Aug 31, 1957 by its first prime minister, Tunku Abdul Rahman Putra Al-Haj.

“It was built to commemorate our independence, so it is very crucial that it be immortalised forever due to its significant historical value. It’s not only part of our independence, but embodies our spirit of independence.

“When the stadium re-opens and each time it is used, it will remind Malaysians of the independence we achieved and its importance,” he said.

Teo suggested that more activities, including sports, concerts, theatrical productions and gatherings, be organised there later.

He also stressed that independence-related activities should be held at the stadium during the National Day Month of August/September to boost patriotism among Malaysians as that location was synonymous with the struggles of the country’s citizens from earlier generations and its founding fathers.

Permodalan Nasional Berhad (PNB) group chairman Tan Sri Arshad Raja Tun Uda announced that Stadium Merdeka was expected to be re-opened to the public in the second quarter of this year since its closure in 2016.

Badan Warisan Malaysia and the National Heritage Department have been working together to restore the stadium to its original state circa 1957, which has also been awarded an excellence award by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO).

History expert Prof Datuk Dr Ramlah Adam, meanwhile, welcomed the stadium’s re-opening, pointing out that the country lacked a monument to commemorate its special day of Aug 31, 1957.

She expressed relief that the stadium and its grounds have not been disturbed and that its original structure and conditions were retained as Malaysians needed something symbolic to remind them of such a momentous occasion in their country’s history.

“The stadium appears to be have been forgotten of late as many events were focused on the Bukit Jalil National Stadium and other places. But there were parties who valued our history and national heritage, so the re-opening of the stadium and its expanded use should be welcomed.

“I believe we cannot only use it solely as an icon or for commemoration, but it should also be a place for film shoots, social events, theatre productions and small-scale competitions involving sports with a nostalgic bent.

“We should promote the stadium as a location for events of national interest and significance to Malaysians so that it can be a visitor-friendly place,” she said.

Stadium Merdeka was recognised as an engineering marvel for the fledgling country when construction commenced in 1956. It was completed a year later, thus cementing its place in history as the location was where the country’s first prime minister, Tunku Abdul Rahman, declared the country’s independence on Aug 31, 1957 and subsequently, the formation of Malaysia on Sept 16, 1963.