Monday, August 30, 2010

"Merdeka Every Day" at Kuching's Merdeka Palace

KUCHING -- Padang Merdeka here, formerly known as Padang Central, is rather 'quiet' this time around as this year's Malaysia Day and closing of the Merdeka Month celebration will be held in Sabah.

There is a big cotton tree by the field which produces off shoots every two or three years, covering the grass underneath white.

Anyhow a hotel located adjacent to this field, Merdeka Palace, is celebrating Merdeka Day by offering the 'Jalur Gemilang' buffet spread at 53 per cent discount from the usual price.

This is to mark the country's 53 years of independence.

And on Sept 16, there will be a 'Malaysia Day' party at Victoria Arms, the hotel's entertainment spot and watering hole.


The former name of Merdeka Palace Hotel, at Jalan Tun Abang Haji Openg, was Hotel Aurora. It underwent renovations 12 years ago and was the first hotel built in Kuching - 1950.

Many of the British dignitaries that attended the ceremony to 'hand over' Sarawak to the federation had stayed in this hotel.

Merdeka Palace is now owned by Gagasan Abadi Sdn Bhd where 70 per cent of its shares are held by those from Sarawak with the remainder owned by Brunei citizens. The hotel's previous owners were Brunei and Singapore nationals.

The significance of Merdeka Palace is that this hotel stands adjacent to Padang Merdeka where Sarawak celebrated its independence and union with the federation to form Malaysia in 1963.

The hotel is also located near several tourist attractions in Kuching.


Among the interesting spots to visit are Sarawak Museum, Textile Museum, Chinese History Museum, Islamic Museum and a popular bazaar that sells handicraft as well as other items.

Stepping into this hotel would make the guests realised why it is named 'Merdeka'.

Behind the reception counter is a wall carpet with the 'historic' picture of Malaysia's Father of Independence Tunku Abdul Rahman Putra Al-Haj who held his hand high and shouted Merdeka on Aug 31 in 1957.

There is another wall carpet with a depiction of the National Monument.

According to Bidari Mohamad Suhaili, the hotel's assistant executive manager, all of the decorations at the hotel are based on the colonial and Merdeka themes.

The hotel rooms have framed pictures on the life and places in Kuching and Sarawak in the 1950s-1960s including that which showed the visits by British dignitaries.

Continue reading at: "Merdeka Every Day" At Kuching's Merdeka Palace

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