The Dataran Merdeka (or Merdeka Square) is located in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. It is situated in front of the Sultan Abdul Samad Building. It was here the Union Flag was lowered and the Malayan flag hoisted for the first time at midnight on August 31, 1957. Since then, Dataran Merdeka has been the usual venue for the annual Hari Merdeka Parade (National Day Parade).
Literally Independence Square, it was formerly known as the Selangor Club Padang or simply the “Padang” and was originally the cricket green of the Selangor Club (now Royal Selangor Club).
The Sultan Abdul Samad Building, which grandly overlooks the Dataran Merdeka, is one of the most significant landmarks built by the British. Designed by A. C. Norman who was inspired by Indian Moghul architecture, this building was completed in 1897 and housed the Selangor State Secretariat and later the Supreme Court before being abandoned for a number of years. It now houses the Ministry of Heritage, Culture and Arts.
The Padang was officially renamed Dataran Merdeka on 1 January 1990 in conjunction of Visit Malaysia Year 1990.
On August 31, 2007, Prime Minister Abdullah Ahmad Badawi shouted ‘Merdeka!’ on midnight celebrations, where thousands of Malaysians celebrated 50 years of nationhood.