Short History Of The Padang (Merdeka Square) Kuala Lumpur

This is the story about that square piece of perfectly-cared grass lawn right next the street in front of Sultan Abdul Samad Building. The story goes like this, in the early days of Kuala Lumpur as the capital city of Malaysia, there were Chinese and Malay communities came and settled along the east bank of the Klang River. Meanwhile to the west the land was owned by infamous Yap Ah Loy to be said as the founder of modern Kuala Lumpur itself, used the land to farm vegetables.

In 1880 the British colonial moved the state capital of Malaya from Klang to Kuala Lumpur, to east of Klang River, Bukit Aman to be exact. But immediately colonialist realized that living among the locals in somewhat unsanitary old Kuala Lumpur city seems unacceptable, uprising risk as well, hence British Resident Frank Swettenham acquired this swampy-uneven patch of land immediately to the west of Klang river at $50 per acre from Yap Ah Loy in 1882, drained and used as training ground for the police force. Named as Parade Ground, locals called it the Padang (translate: grass field).1n 1982, Acting British Resident Ernest Brich who like cricket started to smooth over the Padang so that it can be used as a cricket ground and other means of sports.

In 1897, almost all government offices were relocated from Bukit Aman to the newly built Sultan Abdul Samad Building over the street, overlooking the Padang. Hence as per it location, the Padang used for many national and civic events. The Padang was once leased to the Selangor Club as cricket and rugby match venue. In 1987, the Padang was taken back by the City Hall of Kuala Lumpur (DBKL).

The most glorious story to remember was in the event in the midnight of 30th August year 1957 or 1 minutes past midnight, where at 01 minutes of August 31st 1957, at the Padang the British flag was lowered and Malayan flag was raised for the first time, few hours before Merdeka! Merdeka! Merdeka! was echoed by all Malayan citizen at Merdeka Stadium in the ceremony for Malayan independence. In 1987, the Padang was officially renamed as Dataran Merdeka (Merdeka Square).

Photos credit: Kuaby, Syakeers, Koilynn & Truevoyagers.

See Merdeka Square Kuala Lumpur as it is by playing the 360 degrees timelapsed video below. Seeing it rotates around facing the British colonial remnants in Jalan Raja from late nineteenth century Sultan Abdul Samad Building, then towards Malaysia's oldest Anglican church St. Mary's Cathedral, then Royal Selangor Club, and the tallest flagpole in the world at 95-metre proudly displaying Malaysia flag Jalur Gemilang.

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