Stadium Merdeka
Stadium Merdeka (Independence Stadium) is a sports stadium, in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. It was initially erected for Malaysia's declaration of independence on 31 August 1957. The stadium, operated by Perbadanan Stadium Merdeka, was a venue for many major sporting events prior to its handover to the private company, such as the 1977 Southeast Asian Games and the annual Merdeka Football Tournament (Pesta Bola Merdeka). It also hosted the fight between Muhammad Ali and Joe Bugner on July 1, 1975. It was also used as the venue for concerts. The Stadium Negara and the Chin Woo Stadium are located nearby.

Stadium Merdeka was constructed from 25 September 1956 to 21 August 1957. It was 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. While the stadium is an important part of Malaysia's history, it was almost demolished in the late 1990s. 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. In exchange, the company was required to build seven other stadia 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-1990's Asian economic crisis. In February 2003, Stadium Merdeka was named a national heritage building. In 2007, Merdeka Stadium underwent restoration to its original 1957 condition. The 45,000-capacity stadium has been reduced to 20,000, which meant that several of the upper terrace blocks built over the years had to be demolished. The renovations are part of Malaysia’s 50th anniversary plans to relive the moment when Tunku Abdul Rahman proclaimed independence there. The restoration is expected for completion by December 2009.

Events hosted in the stadium
  • 1965 Southeast Asian Peninsular Games
  • 1971 Southeast Asian Peninsular Games
  • 1977 Southeast Asian Games
  • 1989 Southeast Asian Games
  • The Merdeka Tournament from 1957 to 1995

The access to the stadium is made easy since the operation of KL Monorail begins. Passengers can stop at Maharajalela Monorail station, next to one of the stadium's west exits.

Notes and references