Photo: Morning at the cenotaph.

National Monument

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History and military buffs, and those who don’t mind a walk in the park shouldn’t miss Malaysia’s National Monument (Tugu Negara) set by Jalan Parlimen, just to the north of the Perdana Botanical Gardens.





Three monuments make up the site. The first, a cenotaph surrounded by a large square body of water, bears a series of inscriptions at its base reading, “To Our Glorious Dead (1914–1918), (1939–1945) and the Emergency (1948–1960)”. It sits at the upper entrance of Tugu Negara (by the tour bus parking area) and commemorates not only the war effort during both World Wars, but also the Malayan Emergency. It was originally erected by the British, at the centre of a roundabout near the old Kuala Lumpur Railway Station. It was moved to its current position in 1964 to make way for a flyover downtown.

Beats being in a roundabout. Photo taken in or around National Monument, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia by Stuart McDonald.

Beats being in a roundabout. Photo: Stuart McDonald

Next comes the “Central Pavilion”, with its three gold domes and floor of Langkawi marble. As you continue around, be sure to look up at the ceiling and you’ll see the emblems of the many regiments who served during World War II and the Malayan Emergency.

The third monument is in the form of tall, bronze soldiers supporting their fallen comrades. The seven statues are said to represent leadership, unity, vigilance, strength, courage, sacrifice and suffering. The intention is for the figures to depict the victory of democracy, peace and freedom over “communism and evil”. Dedicated to the 11,000 people who died during the Malayan Emergency, the monument is thought to be the largest freestanding bronze grouping in the world.

Don’t forget to look up. Photo taken in or around National Monument, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia by Stuart McDonald.

Don’t forget to look up. Photo: Stuart McDonald

The statue was designed by Austrian sculptor Felix de Weldon, the man who was also responsible for the famous Marine Corps War Memorial (the Iwo Jima Memorial) in Virginia, USA. Malaysia’s first Prime Minister Tunku Abdul Rahman had been inspired by the statue in Virginia during a visit to the States in 1960, and personally met with Felix de Weldon to have him create it. Anyone who has seen the US version will note the ... please log in to read the rest of this story.


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National Monument
Jalan Parlimem, near Perdana Botanical Gardens
Mo–Su: 07:00–18:00
Admission: Free

Location map for National Monument

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