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Thursday, January 25, 2007

Merdeka Square / Dataran Merdeka, Kuala Lumpur

The world's tallest flagpole. Malaysia Boleh!

Sultan Abdul Samad Building

Merdeka Square

Facing the Sultan Abdul Samad Building is Dataran Merdeka or Merdeka Square, an immaculately-turfed 8.2 hectare area of historical interest.

A 100 metre-high flagpole rising from Merdeka Square is the tallest in the world, and marks the spot where the Malayan Flag was hoisted on August 31, 1957 signifying the independence of the country from British rule.

You may able to see the Malaysian Armed Forces and Royal Malaysian Police bands take turns to perform at the square every third Saturday of the month from 5pm to 6pm.

The Dataran Merdeka (Merdeka Square), a field fronting the Royal Selangor Club, resounded to the cries of "Merdeka" on that night and Malaysias converge on the square each year to relive the moment the country gained its independence.

Formerly known as the Padang, the field was extensively used for cricket, hockey, tennis and rugby matches until the mid-nineties when the whole area was rebuilt to accommodate an underground parking lot and shopping, restaurant, complex. Today, it is still used for cricket matches.

he Tudor-style Royal Selangor Club built in 1910 rests on one corner of the square, where KL's elites meet. You may see a large video screen displaying religious messages and advertisements here.

The Club served as a social centre for Kuala Lumpur¡¦s British residents; its doors are now open to anyone who can afford the membership fees. In keeping with die-hard customs women are still not allowed entry to the bar, except by invitation.

At the opposite end of the square is an inviting spot where visitors can relax amid soothing rushing waters of fountains, elegant colonnades and colourful beds of zinnias and marigolds.

Beneath the square is Plaza Putra, an underground food, leisure and entertainment complex.
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