Federal Territory Day is celebrated on 1st February every year in Kuala Lumpur, Putrajaya and Labuan. Federal Territory Day commemorates the day in 1974 when Kuala Lumpur was transferred to federal control.
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Kuala Lumpur had previously been a part of Selangor state, but the Federal Territory Agreement signed on January 28th, 1974, changed its status. The agreement was only put into effect four days later on February 1st. Labuan became the second federal territory on May 17th, 1984, when it was taken from Sabah state, and Putrajaya was purchased from Selangor state to become the third federal territory on February 1st, 2001.
The three federal territories
- Kuala Lumpur was the original sole federal capital territory of Malaysia, and still is the country’s official capital city. It is the city where the Malaysian parliament meets and the city of residence of Malaysia’s monarch. However, certain executive and judicial portions of the government have relocated to Putrajaya.
- Putrajaya was taken from the now-adjacent city of Prang Besar to form a second federal capital territory because of overcrowding in Kuala Lumpur. Putrajaya, located just inland from the central portion of the Straits of Malacca, is considered the “administrative centre” of Malaysia.
- Labuan consists of Labuan Island and six neighbouring isles just off the coast of the Malaysian state of Sabah. It is a centre of offshore fossil fuels drilling, and its main city, Victoria, is an international financial centre. Labuan became an international free trade zone in 1990.
In all three of Malaysia’s federal territories, Federal Territory Day is celebrated with parades, cultural exhibitions and performances, fireworks displays, and various games and contests. Much of the activity takes place out in the streets and is free to attend.
There are also official events with an annually changing patriotic theme and awards ceremonies wherein those deemed to have made valuable contributions to the community are recognised with special ribbons.
Those touring Malaysia on Federal Territory Day may also wish to explore the three territories besides attending official celebrations. Some places to see in each of the territories are:
- In Kuala Lumpur, enjoy low-priced shopping opportunities at 66 shopping malls. You can find a popular mall near the Central Market in the foot-traffic-only Old Market Square. You should also consider visiting Suria KLCC, a shopping centre under the iconic Petronas Twin Towers. Also do not neglect the Kuala Lumpur Chinatown on Petaling Street.
- In Putrajaya, you will find numerous monuments and landmarks worth seeing, such as
Perdana Putra, the blue-domed, many-pillared office of the prime minister, and Putra Mosque, with its pink domes and rose-hued granite. Both buildings are next to each other on Putrajaya Lake and look stunning lit up at night, reflecting light off the lake waters. You may also wish to see Melawati National Palace, Putrajaya Botanical Gardens, or Putrajaya Wetlands Park.
- Attractions in Labuan, one of Malaysia’s prime tourist hot spots, include: the Labuan War Cemetery, where fallen World War II soldiers are interred; a memorial to the defeat of the Japanese invaders in 1945; “the Chimney” at an old naval coal station, which reminds of Labuans’ days as a British naval base; the Labuan Maritime Museum; four offshore wrecks, popular as diving opportunities; and Labuan Marine Park.
Federal Territory Day is only celebrated in three specific areas of Malaysia, but there are, nonetheless, plenty of events and many relevant things to do.