Stadium Merdeka

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Stadium Merdeka
ستاديوم مرديك
Stadium Merdeka Complete.jpg
LocationKuala Lumpur, Malaysia
OwnerPermodalan Nasional Berhad
OperatorPerbadanan Stadium Merdeka[1]
SurfaceGrass pitch, track
Broke ground25 September 1956
Opened21 August 1957
ArchitectStanley Edward Jewkes
Formerly Selangor FA
Formerly Malaysian national football team
Southeast Asian Games (1965, 1971, 1977)
Kuala Lumpur FA (occasional)

Stadium Merdeka (English: Independence Stadium) in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. It has significance as the site of the formal declaration of independence of the Federation of Malaya on 31 August 1957 and the first modern building of the new nation. The stadium was the principal venue in Kuala Lumpur for celebrations and sporting events until 1962 when the Stadium Negara was built. In 2008, the Stadium Merdeka received the UNESCO Asia-Pacific Award for Excellence for Heritage Conservation owing to its cultural significance and embodiment of a unique independence declaration event.


Stadium Merdeka was constructed from 25 September 1956 to 21 August 1957, and was designed by architect Stanley Edward Jewkes. It is the site of one of Malaysia's most historically significant events. On 31 August 1957, power was transferred from the British Empire to the newly independent Malayan government.a Tens of thousands of people crowded into the stadium, which was built specifically for this occasion.

The stadium served as the principal venue in Kuala Lumpur for celebrations and sporting events until the mid-1990s, when the Bukit Jalil National Stadium was built.

The stadium and its land were given to a private company which had intended to redevelop the land into a RM1 billion entertainment and office complex.[2] In exchange, the company was required to build seven other stadiums in other locations. However, the company did not proceed with the redevelopment due to public outcry and the company's financial difficulties due to the late 1990s Asian economic crisis.

Sporting events and concerts[edit]

The Stadium Merdeka, operated by Perbadanan Stadium Merdeka, was a venue for many major sporting events. These included the football matches for Selangor FA from 1957 until 1994, the fight between Muhammad Ali and Joe Bugner on July 1, 1975, and the 1977 Southeast Asian Games and the annual Merdeka Football Tournament (Pesta Bola Merdeka). The Malaysia Cup final between Sarawak and Brunei was held there in 1999 which resulted in a Brunei win 2-1.

The Merdeka Stadium also hosted major concerts. Michael Jackson's HIStory World Tour filled the stadium to capacity (Jackson performed two sold out concert in October 27 and 29 1996, in front of 55,000 people each night.)

Heritage conservation[edit]

In February 2003, Stadium Merdeka was named a national heritage building. In 2007, Merdeka Stadium underwent restoration to its original 1957 condition as part of Malaysia's 50th anniversary plans to relive the moment when Tunku Abdul Rahman proclaimed independence there. The restoration was completed by December 2009. The restoration received the UNESCO Asia-Pacific 2008 Award of Excellence for Cultural Heritage Conservation.

Events since 2009[edit]

With the restoration of the Stadium Merdeka, the 45,000-capacity stadium was reduced to 20,000, which meant that several of the upper terrace blocks built over the years were demolished. The decision to reduced the capacity of the historic stadium was justified to ensure the integrity of the stadium as it was in 1957, with the Stadium Negara and the Chin Woo Stadium having the capacity to hold larger events. In February 2015, Kuala Lumpur FA returned to Stadium Merdeka for the first time in 17 years for the team's opening Premier League match of the season against Sabah. The last international match played at the stadium saw the Malaysian team drawing 1-1 with Cambodia in October 2001.[3]

Events hosted in the stadium[edit]


Access to the stadium is easy since the operation of KL Monorail began. Passengers can stop at Maharajalela Monorail station, next to one of the stadium's west exits. Stadium Merdeka also lends its name, but is not directly served, by the Merdeka MRT station. The MRT station serves the adjacent Stadium Negara instead.


  • Existing Ticketing Booths
  • VIP Holding room
  • Changing Rooms


Notes and references[edit]

^a At the time of its independence, Malaya excluded Singapore, Sarawak and Sabah.

  1. ^ National Sports Complex Archived 2007-08-21 at the Wayback Machine. Cuti Malaysia. Retrieved 17 August 2007.
  2. ^ Lim Kit Siang. Merdeka Stadium and National Stadium - the fifth injustice and disservice in a week to the memory and legacy of Tunku on birthday centenary commemoration - Cabinet and not PNB should designate them national heritage and monuments. DAP Malaysia. 12 February 2003. Retrieved 17 August 2007.
  3. ^ "Stadium Merdeka to be home again for Kuala Lumpur football team". The Star Online. 5 February 2015. Retrieved 30 July 2016.
  4. ^ Win tickets to Mariah Carey's concert in KL. The Star Online. Retrieved 18 October 2014.

Coordinates: 3°8′20.71″N 101°42′2.09″E / 3.1390861°N 101.7005806°E / 3.1390861; 101.7005806