The historical circumstances on the dates of Malaysian Independence day and celebration.
Malaysians celebrate Hari Merdeka on August 31st and Malaysia Day on Sept 16th in celebration of Malaysia’s Independence.
1957 – Independence Day (August 31st)
Hari Merdeka, Malaysia’s Independence Day commemorates the independence of the Federation of Malaya from British colonial rule in 1957. It is celebrated on 31st August each year. This day is also known as ‘Hari Merdeka’ and the Malay word ‘Merdeka’ means ‘independence’ or ‘freedom’.
1963 – Formation of Malaysia (Sept 16th)
Malaysia Day, also known as ‘Hari Malaysia’ came about when Malaysia was formed on 16 September 1963 with the unison of the Federation of Malaya, North Borneo (renamed Sabah), Sarawak and Singapore.
Note: In 1965, Malaysian Prime Minister, Tunku Abdul Rahman decided upon the expulsion of Singapore from the Federation, thus leading to the Independence of Singapore on 9th August 1965.
Since 2010, Sept 16th Malaysia Day, is also celebrated and made a public holiday. The former Prime Minister of Malaysia, Najib Razak, made the decision to have two celebrations related to Malaysia’s independence.