Malaysia was once a British Protectorate and a Colony for more than 250 years from the 18th Century until 1957. Surely there are many colonial remnants in our Malaysian cities. Most of the buildings were designed by the same architect, and his name is Arthur Hubback. Later, towards independence, some of these colonial buildings have a story to tell on its own in it’s important role in achieving Independence. If you’re up for some historical nostalgia, here’s some of the significant sites in Malaysia, that was initially used by the British, that holds a deeper role in the journey towards independence.
1. Bangunan Sultan Abdul Samad and Dataran Merdeka, Kuala Lumpur
50050 Kuala Lumpur,
Coordinates: 3.1487° N, 101.6944° E
This building with its blend of Moorish architecture and European influences, was once the government office of the British-administered Federated Malay States. Its unique structure and facade hold significance to Malaysians when it comes to the National Day. It hosted National Day parades almost every year and also a favourite site for major events such as marathons, runs and also concerts too. The square where you see performances and dance acts every Merdeka Day morning was actually used as a cricket ground and sports recreation complex for the Royal Selangor Club. Back then it was only called the padang. There also lies a 100m Malaysian flagpole, and it was once the World’s Tallest Flagpole until 1980 when North Korea took the title for the Kijongdong Flagpole.
2. Carcosa Seri Negara, Kuala Lumpur
Taman Tasik Perdana,
50480 Kuala Lumpur,
Coordinates: 3.1418° N, 101.6822° E
You may know as the mansion everybody’s talking about in Crazy Rich Asians. Do you know that, the building itself was for the purpose as the residence of the British High Commissioner to Malaya during British Malaya? In this historical building, the Federal Constitution of Malaya was drafted from 1955 to 1957. It was also served as the temporary residence for HM Queen Elizabeth II during her visit to Malaysia. Now, it is a museum.
3. The Kuala Lumpur Train Station, Kuala Lumpur
Jalan Sultan Hishamuddin,
50621 Kuala Lumpur,
Coordinates: 3.1397° N, 101.6937° E
This moorish building lay witness a massive protest of Malay nationalists against the inauguration of the first Governor of the Malayan Union, Sir Edward Gent in 1946. Taken from an inspiration of Northern Indian Mughal Architecture and a blend of Byzantine-Arabian fantasy. Margaret Thatcher also came here in 1985. It was declared as a National Heritage in 2007.
4. The Malay College, Kuala Kangsar, Perak
Jalan Tun Razak,
33000 Kuala Kangsar,
Coordinates: 4.7757° N, 100.9386° E
The iconic Big School building, the alma mater of the many leaders of our country. From corporate leaders such as Tan Sri Azman Mokhtar and politicians from Dato’ Onn Jaafar, to Sultans like Almarhum Sultan Azlan Shah, many of them see the Malay College as the place that started it all. A few of the members of the 1956 Merdeka Delegation, Tun Abdul Razak and Nik Ahmad Kamil studied in this iconic school. There are also many current MPs from MCKK mainly including YB Dato’ Saifuddin Abdullah, MP for Indera Mahkota and Minister of Foreign Affairs, Dato’ Seri Anwar Ibrahim, MP for Port Dickson, Dato’ Seri Hishammuddin Hussein, MP for Sembrong and also YB Nik Nazmi Nik Ahmad, MP for Setiawangsa. The Big School is now being used as a dormitory.
5. Proclamation of Independence Memorial, Melaka
Memorial Pengisytiharan Kemerdekaan,
Coordinates: 2.1919° N, 102.2509° E
Do you know? This building was once housed the Malacca Club. Now, this building is converted as a memorial that keeps the declaration of independence, proclaimed by YTM Tunku Abdul Rahman Putra Al-Haj, the First Prime Minister of Malaysia on 31st August 1957 at Stadium Merdeka. A year earlier, Tunku Abdul Rahman arrived at Banda Hilir in Melaka to announce the date of the Malayan independence on the 20th February 1956. The renovated building was opened during the 28th Anniversary of Independence in 31st August 1985. The place where the building is located is now called Dataran Pahlawan.
All in all, these sites hold dear to some of the citizens and also nostalgia junkies. Preservation of these sites are vital, as a living proof of our nation’s history and how these buildings are very important in building the nation we have today. Besides MCKK, 4 of them are tourist attractions on its own. Why not go take your time and go to these places and see for yourself the splendour, majestic and appreciate the beauty of the architecture of it. You may not see anything like it outside of Malaysia.