Merdeka – The Early Days


Among the first signs of human life found in present-day Malaysia was a skull found in Sarawak in the 1950s, dating to 40,000 years ago.

10,000 Years Ago

Anthropologists believe aboriginal Proto-Malays migrated from southwest China, eventually traveling to Indonesia, Sumatra and Borneo. Proto-Malays have been found to be ethnically related to people in Sumatra, Java and parts of the Philippines.

300 BC

Arrival of Deutero-Malays, descended partly from Cham people of the Mekong Delta. They push the Proto-Malays into the north and become direct ancestors of today’s ethnic Malays.

100 BC

Commerce begins with China and India, establishing ports in Malaysia along essential trade routes and bringing foreign influence

0-400 AD

Buddhism and Hinduism arrive from India and are adopted; Sanksrit becomes the writing system.


Much of Malay peninsula ruled by maharajas of the trade-based Srivijaya empire, which enhances the area’s vital role in regional trade.


Islam is gradually introduced by Arab and Indian traders, and is first adopted by the Malay elite.

Early 1400s

Port of Malacca founded by renegade prince Iskandar Shah or Parameswara, purported to be a descendant of Alexander the Great, and who soon converts to Islam. Until 1405 the local superpowers reigned over the peninsula; the Funan in Cambodia, the Srivijaya in Sumatra and the Majapahit in Java.


From 1405, the Chinese influence in this area grew. Visiting Chinese admiral offers to protect Malacca against invading Siamese; support allows Malacca to expand influence over much of peninsula. Malacca and other Malaysian sultanates dominates China-India sea trade over next 100 years as Mongol armies close land route to the West; Malay becomes official language and Malacca becomes important Islamic center.


From 1500 onward the trade in Southeast Asia increased enormously. The European superpowers of that time showed interest in the local resources, the era of trade over sea had started and Malacca would play a big part in it. The colonization from the West started.

Our Pride


Check out the memorable logos and themes that have been created in conjunction with the Merdeka celebration since 1976. More

Merdeka Events

Don't miss out the Merdeka celebration at your local area, state or the big parade at National Merdeka level. Check the events date and hours! More

Celebration Gallery

Browse the selected colorful gallery of images  in conjunction with the Merdeka celebration around the nation. More

Online Exhibition

The Merdeka exhibition was produced by User Experience Service Unit, PSB UUM as part of Online Exhibition series.