Hari Merdeka (Malaysian for 'Independence Day'), also known as Hari Kebangsaan (National day), refers to the day when the Federation of Malaya's independence from the British Empire was officially declared. At exactly 09:30 on 31 August 1957, the declaration was read by the first Chief Minister of Malaya, Tunku Abdul Rahman at the Merdeka Stadium in the presence of thousands of people including Malay Rulers, members of the federal government, and foreign dignitaries.
To commemorate the event, Hari Merdeka was declared a national holiday in Malaysia and observed annually on 31 August. The day should not be confused with Hari Malaysia ('Malaysia Day') that commemorates the formation of Malaysia on 16 September 1963, when North Borneo, Sarawak, and Singapore federated with the existing states of the Federation of Malaya.
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