Tugu Negara


Tugu Negara

Tugu Negara, literally the ""National Monument" in Malay, is a sculpture that commemorates those who died in Malaysia's struggle for freedom, principally against the Japanese occupation during World War II and the Malayan Emergency , which lasted from 1948 until 1960. It is located in the Federal capital, Kuala Lumpur. The Malaysian Houses of Parliament is situated near the monument.

The monument depicts a group of soldiers holding the Malaysian national flag, the "Jalur Gemilang", aloft. Each of the bronze figures symbolizes leadership, suffering, unity, vigilance, strength, courage and sacrifice.

Every year on July 31, "Hari Pahlawan" (Heroes Day), the Yang di-Pertuan Agong, the Prime Minister and heads of military and the police would pay their respects to the fallen heroes by laying garlands at the monument.

History

First National Monument

The original national monument was not the one in the form of human figures but was a cenotaph that was situated in the middle of a roundabout. The British administration set up the first monument, a 10m flat grass-covered ground to commemorate the wars and honour the fallen heroes from World War I, World War II and the Malayan Emergency.

It was moved to the present site during a constructed of a flyover in 1964 connecting Jalan Sultan Hishamuddin and the Parliament roundabout. Therefore the original name for Jalan Tugu, where the Tugu Negara is currently situated, was Cenotaph Road.

On the monument, it is written “To Our Glorious Dead" with dates of the First World War (1914-1918), Second World War (1939-1945) and the Emergency (1948-1960).

econd National Monument

The monument was later replaced with the Tugu Negara, an idea mooted by Malaysia's first Prime Minister Tunku Abdul Rahman Putra Al-Haj and was commissioned in 1963.

The huge tall bronze figures of soldiers standing and supporting their fallen comrades, which is opposite Lake Gardens, are the work of sculptor Felix de Weldon, who also did Washington’s Iwo Jima Monument and it is regarded as the largest bronze monument grouping in the world.

The Tugu Negara was completed and officially opened on February 8, 1966, by the Yang di-Pertuan Agong. It was proclaimed a memorial park dedicated to the 11,000 people who died during the 12-year Malayan Emergency (1948-1960). Thereafter, a wreath-laying ceremony takes place at the monument every July 31 on Warriors Day.

Design

Constructed in 1966, the monument is 15 meters ( 49.21 feet) tall, made of bronze and was designed by Austrian sculptor Felix de Weldon, who was also responsible for the famed USMC War Memorial in Virginia, United States.

The granite base of the monument bears only inscriptions in English with Roman script and Malay with Jawi script::"Dedicated to the heroic fighters in the cause of peace and freedom," :"May the blessing of Allah be upon them"

In 27 August 1975, the monument suffered extensive damage due to an explosion set off by a communist terrorist. It has since been restored to its original state on 11 May 1977. A fence was then erected and the complex was declared a protected area between sunset and dawn. Every day at dusk, a soldier raises the national flag and lowers it at dawn.

Jalan Tugu

In the 1960s, Jalan Tugu was Cenotaph Road named after a monument that was located at the intersection of the road and Victory Avenue which is now called Jalan Sultan Hishamuddin.

Jalan Tugu now connects to the roundabout that leads to the KL KTM Station opposite the Masjid Negara or National Mosque.

Along the road you will find the Ministry of Health, Town and Rural Planning Department and Jalan Cenderasari, which leads to the various parks in Kuala Lumpur like the Bird Park, Lake Gardens and Butterfly Park.

References

* [http://www.nst.com.my/Weekly/Travel/article/TTales/20051115104243/Article/index_html In honour of our fallen heroes] , New Straits Times, December 16, 2005.

* [http://thestar.com.my/metro/story.asp?file=/2007/7/28/central/18405660&sec=central Monuments to honour the dead] , The Star, July 28, 2007.


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