Feb 8, 2009


The Sultan Abdul Samad Building is located in front of the Dataran Merdeka - literally the Independence Square - and the Royal Selangor Club, byJalan Tunku Abdul Rahman in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. The structure takes its name from Sultan Abdul Samad, the reigning sultan of Selangor at the time when construction began.

t was designed by A.C. Norman and built in 1894-1897 to house several important government departments during the British administration. A.C. Norman spent time in Africa and saw Muslim mosques in India which led him to use Moorish architecture in the building's design.

In 1945, when World War II ended, Britain resumed control again, but Malaya's independence movement had matured and organized itself in an alliance under Tunku Abdul Rahman. When the British flag was finally lowered in Kuala Lumpur's Merdeka Square in 1957, Tunku became the first prime minister of Malaya.

In front of the building is the Dataran Merdeka (or Merdeka Square). It was here, the Union Jack flag was lowered and the Malayan flag hoisted for the first time at midnight on August 31, 1957. The Dataran Merdeka was officially opened on January 1, 1990, in conjunction with Visit Malaysia Year 1990.

The Merdeka Square symbolized British sovereignty as it was a cricket ground for the colonial administrators and fronted the Royal Selangor Club, Malaya's most exclusive whites-only club.

In 1961, Abdul Rahman mooted the idea of the establishment of "Malaysia", which would consist of Singapore, Sabah, Sarawak and Brunei, all of which had still been British colonies. The reasoning behind this was that it would allow the federal government to control and combat communist activities, especially in Singapore. It was also feared that if Singapore achieved independence, it would become a base for Chinese chauvinists to threaten Malayan sovereignty. To balance out the ethnic composition of the new nation, the other states, whose Malay and indigenous populations would cancel out the Chinese majority in Singapore, were also included.

A 95-meter flagpole, one of the tallest in the world, marks that spot with a flat, round black marble plaque. It is located at the southern end of the square.

To mark the occasion on the morning of Merdeka Day, Thousands of spectators converge on the city to watch the colourful parade along the streets of the city and performances held at the Merdeka Square. Each state will be represented, as are the many ethnic groups that comprise multiracial Malaysia. The National Flag will be flown throughout the country, at office buildings, private homes and on vehicles. State shows, competitions and exhibitions will also be held in all states. This year, Malaysia celebrates her 50th birthday.

During state occasions, coloured lights twinkle in the arches, making it look like a scene from an Arabian Nights' tale. The section of Jalan Raja is closed in order for the people to enjoy the night scenery of the area.