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2023 Merdeka Day Parade: How to get there, best seats, what to expect

As we flip our calendars from July into the month of August, Malaysians are once again prepared to wear their patriotic pride on their sleeves for the 2023 Merdeka Day Parade, which is organised in commemoration of the country’s 66th year of independence from Colonial rule.

Traditionally held outside the historic Dataran Merdeka (Independence Square), this year’s Merdeka parade however is set to take place in the country’s administrative capital of Putrajaya on the 31st. This marks the fifth year that the parade has been hosted in Putrajaya, with prior iterations held in 2003, 2005, 2018, and 2019.

Image credit: Ishan @seefromthesky/Unsplash

Taking after the ruling government’s Malaysia Madani (Civil Malaysia) policy framework and slogan that was introduced in October of 2022, the 2023 Merdeka Parade’s theme has been announced as Malaysia Madani: Tekad Perpaduan, Penuhi Harapan (Civil Malaysia: Determined Unity, Filled with Hope).

And if you’re keen to witness the procession yourself, we’ve compiled a nifty guide to break down everything you need to know about the 2023 Merdeka Parade, from how to get there to what you can expect.

What to expect at the 2023 Merdeka Day Parade 

As is the case with all the other parade processions that came before it, the 2023 Merdeka Day Parade is expected to bring in a considerable crowd numbering close to over 100,000 visitors.

Quoting Communications and Digital Ministry senior undersecretary (management) Mazlan Abd Mutalib, The Star newspaper reports that preparations for the parade itself began as far back as April after the Hari Raya Aidilfitri celebrations, encompassing a total of four months.

Mazlan, who appeared as a guest on Bernama TV’s Apa Khabar Malaysia recently to speak on the parade’s inner workings, adds that this year’s procession is split into 10 components in total representing various facets of the nation. This includes Nationhood, Unity, Malaysia Madani, Economy, Banking, Telecommunication, Creative Industry, Community, National Sports, and National Welfare and Security.

As for participants, an estimated 17,000 individuals will be making an appearance during the parade itself, in addition. to the mobilisation of 516 vehicle assets from the Armed Forces and police.

Naturally as tradition dictates, the procession will feature everything from members enlisted in civil service to popular local entertainers. Where the latter is concerned, Nadeera Zaini, Suki Low, Roshini Balachandran, and Zizi Kirana have been confirmed as among the notable acts to stage a performance on the day, accompanied by 1,00 dancers and 400 drummers of various races.

Those looking for thrills won’t be disappointed either, as a skydiving performance by six VAT69 commandos carrying the Jalur Gemilang has been confirmed for the Merdeka Parade procession.

For automotive enthustasis, a convoy of 30 vintage cars will participate in the parade under a campaign sponsored by Agro Bank, while animal lovers will delight in the appearance of dogs and horses from the Royal Malaysian Police during the event.

The parade venue in Putrajaya

The layout

Naturally, a rule of thumb to observe here is to arrive as early as possible at the parade venue to secure a good vantage point to spectate the celebrations.

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Image credit: Merdeka360/Facebook

Where Putrajaya is concerned, the parade path is segregated into a total of eight zones, which are listed below:

Zone 1: From Galleria PjH to the Gemilang Roundabout
Zone 2: Dataran Putrajaya, which the Royal Box will be located in alongside the main performance stage and LED screens
Zone 3: Close to Anjung Floria Park, which will be used to host military assets
Zone 4: McDonald’s parking area, where 58 horses. and artillery from the Armed Forces will be stationed
Zone 5: Persiaran Perdana, which will offer multi-level seating to accommodate up to 4,000 guests
Zone 6: The entrance of the Ministry of Finance headquarters, which will also host a medical tent
Zone 7: Lebuh Wawasan, near the Wawasan Bridge which will be closed off
Zone 8: Putra Square marks the end of the parade route

Kuala Lumpur police chief Datuk Allaudeen Abdul Majid has told NST that a total of 22 roads in and around Putrajaya will be closed on August 31st for the parade, which will begin from as early as 5.00am. “Civil servants working at the administrative capital must take note of these closures to avoid getting caught in any unnecessary congestion.” he said.

Getting to the venue

Bus or train

This is perhaps your best bet for getting to the parade venue without having to worry about traffic congestion or worse still, a lack of available parking spots.

Public transport operator RapidKL will be extending their service operation hours on the eve of Merdeka Day up to 2.00am, to account for those who will be spectating the fireworks display.

As for the day itself, service operation hours will begin as early as 4.00am. Regardless of whether you are traveling by LRT, MRT, or ERL, your final stop will be at Putrajaya Sentral. Where the latter is concerned, you can even enjoy a discounted fare, applicable only for one day on August 31.

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Image credit: RapidKL/Facebook

Shuttle services offered by both RapidKL and Nadiputra Bus will then take you from Putrajaya Sentral to Dataran Putrajaya.

Private car

If you choose to brave the traffic in your own car, only a limited number of parking bays are available across the length of the parade route spread out across multiple locations. Nadiputra buses will also be providing shuttle services at designated pickup points close to these parking areas.

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Image credit: Ministry of Rural and Regional Development/Facebook

These include:

  • 27 locations within the ‘Core Island’ in Precinct 1 to 4: 4,000 bays
  • Park & Ride building in Precinct 7: 1,300 bays
  • 7MD6 Open carpark in Precinct 7: 290 bays
  • PICC Parking basement in Precinct 5: 1,100 bays
  • Herriot-Watt University open carpark in Precinct 5: 300 bays
  • Taman Empagan open carpark in Precinct 5: 50 bays
  • Complex E1 and E2 open carpark in Precinct 1: 662 bays

This makes for a total of 7,702 parking bays.

The parade is expected to start at 7.00am, so be sure to arrive before then! And as a warning, no drones are permitted to fly over the parade route. Any unauthorised drones will be disabled on sight by the local police force.

Feature and hero image credit: Deva Darshan/Unpslash, mkjr_/Unsplash

2023 Merdeka Day Parade: How to get there, best seats, what to expect

Armed with an Advertising major from Lancaster University, Benjamin is a senior editor who has spent his time oscillating between the social media and digital media landscape since 2018. With a keen interest in fashion and good living, he has written for publications such as ERROR Digital, WORLD OF BUZZ, and KL Foodie. Beyond the keyboard, you can find him arms-deep in a thrift pile.

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