Federal Territory Day is an annual regional celebration that is observed on February 1 in Malaysia to mark the anniversary of the formation of the Federal Territory of Kuala Lumpur in 1974. Kuala Lumpur, the much newer Putrajaya, and Labuan are the three federal territories of Malaysia.
History of Federal Territory Day
Malaysia’s modern history started with the merger of the former British colony of Singapore territories and the East Malaysian states of Sabah and Sarawak with the Federation of Malaya in 1963. At that time Kuala Lumpur, the reason for the celebration of Federal Territory Day (or Hari Wilayah Persekutuan, as locals like to call it) was still part of the Selangor state.
The ratification of the jointly signed Federal Territory Agreement, which saw Selangor state give up part of its land to expand and create an independently governed Kuala Lumpur region four days after it was signed on January 28, 1974, is considered to be the origin of the Federal Territory Day celebration.
The day was initiated and kickstarted on February 1, 1974, as the day to mark the anniversary of the formation of Kuala Lumpur. Perhaps also because February 1 has additional historical significance, since it is also the day that the country was first formed in 1948.
The regional holiday is often observed as an annual public holiday on February 1. And the occasion is usually marked by wild performances, parades, fireworks, cultural exhibitions, various games, contests, etc, the participation of which are often without charge.
The announcement to move government administrative offices from Kuala Lumpur to the newly created Putrajaya (one of the three federal territories) late in the history of Kuala Lumpur was widely considered as an effort to convert all government properties into commercial developments in the city. Although that hypothesis has proven to be right, it is only now being considered a good idea.
Federal Territory Day timeline
February holds further significance for Malaysians other than it being Federal Territory Day — the country itself is formed on February 1.
The Federal Territory Day is introduced and first observed on February 1 after the Federal Territory Agreement is co-signed with Selangor state four days earlier.
The newly developed Putrajaya becomes Malaysia’s third federal territory, after the land used to build the city is ceded by Selangor, and the seat of the Malaysian government moves there from Kuala Lumpur.
The year marks the first time Federal Territory Day becomes a themed event — it’s called 'Progress and Prosperity.'
Federal Territory Day FAQs
What system of government does Malaysia operate?
Their system is a mixture of democracy, a parliamentary system, a constitutional and elective monarchy.
Is Malaysia a federal state?
Yes, Malaysia is a federal, constitutional, and elective monarchy; the only federal state in Southeast Asia.
When is Malaysia Day celebrated?
It’s celebrated on September 16 every year, to mark the establishment of the Federation of Malaysia on the same date in 1963.
How to Observe Federal Territory Day
Read Malaysia’s history
Malaysia’s modern history started when the former British colony of Singapore and the East Malaysian states of Sabah and Sarawak joined the Federation of Malaya in 1963. At that time Kuala Lumpur, the capital of Malaysia, was still part of Selangor state. To celebrate Federal Territory Day, take a dive into the country's past.
Attend the parades
This is the best way to celebrate Hari Wilayah! In all three federal territories in Malaysia, the holiday is celebrated with fireworks, parades, cultural exhibitions, and performances, most of which are free to attend.
Show support online
Show your support and admiration for the holiday on social media by sharing selfies and interesting opinions about the exhibition and performances from the celebration event. Use #FederalTerritoryDay.
5 Things You Didn’t Know About Federal Territory Day
It’s a regional holiday
Federal Territory Day is considered a regional holiday most widely celebrated in only three of Malaysia’s 16 states.
It’s mostly known as Hari Wilayah Persekutuan
The holiday is more widely known as Hari Wilayah Persekutuan among the locals.
13 states, three federal territories
Malaysia consists of 13 distinct and culturally rich states and three federal territories.
The day doubles as an award ceremony
Hari Wilayah Persekutuan also doubles as a day to honor notable people who have made valuable contributions to the country.
It is always honored with a holiday
If the day falls on a weekend, the holiday staggers into Monday and may also be moved if it clashes with the Chinese New Year holiday.
Why Federal Territory Day is Important
It reminds us of our history
Malaysia is rich in history! although it is something Malaysians often forget. But we only need to occasionally read up on the history of our country or travel through it to truly see how rich we are culturally and how far we’ve come. Federal Territory Day is one of the events that help us stay reminded of our shared history.
It helps to create a lasting bond
Yes, celebrating Federal Territory Day as a nation helps us form a lasting bond. From the indigenous groups of Sabah and Sarawak to Malays, Indians, and Chinese, celebrations such as Hari Wilayah foster a harmonious co-existence and friendship.
It recommits us to further growth
Hari Wilayah helps us to reflect on the past. This can serve as motivation for us to commit to building a better future.
Federal Territory Day dates