Royal Selangor recently launched the Malaysia Baru medallion to commemorate the historic day on May 9 when millions of Malaysians came together to express their desire for change through the ballot box. The 6.5cm medallion captures the birth date of the new Malaysia, while the other side features hands joined together as a symbol of democracy and peace. This show of unity is in line with 2018’s Merdeka theme, Sayangi Malaysiaku.
What inspired this project?
May 9, 2018 was such a huge event in Malaysian history, marking the first change of government ever for Malaysia! It was incredible how engaged and empowered people felt after, and the sense that the government is answerable to the people. We had people coming up to ask if we were making something with which to commemorate the occasion as they felt so emotional and so strongly about what had happened. We also thought this was a good way to contribute to Tabung Harapan.
What made you decide on a commemorative medallion?
We wanted something substantial, with a sense of permanence; something [with which] we could convey, in sculpted scenes, what people were feeling — pride in the nation, a sense of unity and power of the people. Yes, May 9, 2018 is a date to be celebrated, not so much about one coalition winning a general election but the birth of a new Malaysia. We also wanted something most people could afford.
What’s your personal wish for Malaysia Baru?
I wish that everyone will continue to be engaged, even if there are disappointments along the way. Rather than sit back and judge, we should be a part of the change we wish to see, like an active civil society, a strong media, rebuilt institutions and people power.
And how will you be celebrating Merdeka this year?
I think it will be a time of reflection — the first Merdeka and Malaysia Day that celebrates a new Malaysia. Perhaps it would also be a good time to take the kids to some historic sites in Kuala Lumpur and tell them a bit more about Malaysia’s history.
The Malaysia Baru special edition medallion retails for RM125 and is available at all Royal Selangor stores or online, while stocks last. Also, 20% from the sales of the medallion will be donated to Tabung Harapan. This article first appeared on Aug 27, 2018 in The Edge Malaysia.