Up to 2000 on Liberation Square

The turn of the Millenium was for many postal services a good moment to view into their history or future by means of stamp issues. Also for Malaysia.
In our collection we all know the series of January 1st 2000 with the stamp that brings the development of the network of roads and the production of cars and motorcycles to our notice. The stamp has, next to the large counter sheets with 5 times the complete series (4 blocks of 2x5 stamps plus 1 strip of 10 stamp next to each other), also been issued in a large block (A4 format).

Milleniumuitgifte Maleisië

Loketvellen milleniumuitgifte Maleisië

The complete issue consists of 2 parts: a first issued on December 31st 1999 and a second, as said issued on January 1st 2000. The FDC's have also been cancelled on these dates, but this was possible at several philatelic offices in the country. We know FDC's from Kuala Lumpur, Melaka, Ipoh and Taiping.

FDC Milleniumuitgifte Maleisië
The standard FDC

Thus up to now nothing new. Until I obtained halfway the past decennium an FDC from Taiping which had an extra postmark above the 2000 logo. The postmark gave the motto of the turn of the millenium in Malaysia: "Malaysia Onward", both in own language and English.

FDC Milleniumuitgifte Maleisië met extra stempel
The FDC with extra postmark

Detail extra stempel op FDC Milleniumuitgifte Maleisië
Detail of the extra postmark

Off course I liked to know why this extra postmark had been used, and after some research it appeared that in the bigger cities of Malaysia organized Newyear parties were held. On some of them special stands from governemental agencies were set up, and the postal service was one of them. In these stands the stamp sheets as we know them were sold. On the FDC's that were offered there for cancellation extra indications were made to prove that they had been cancelled there. Up to now I have found this extra postmark only on a Taiping FDC, but when searching I ran into another FDC that has been sold in the evening and night of the turn of the year in the special stand in Kuala Lumpur.
Naturally a party was also organized in Kuala Lumpur, capital of Malaysia and a city with just 2 million inhabitants. This happened on the Merdekka Square (Freedom Square) where the famous 95 m high flag pole is standing in front of the door of the Sultan-Abdul-Samat Palace.

Abdul-Samat Paleis Kuala Lumpur

The building from the 19th century has a 40 m high "standing clock" on which the approach of the new era could perfectly be followed. The special FDC shows this tower with the seonds counting down and great fireworks.

Speciale FDC Milleniumuitgifte Maleisië

According to my source this FDC was only available until 1 o'clock in the night, in the postal service stand on the Merdekka Square. The same source mentioned incidentally in his email another special sheet that had only be sold in the postal stand in an edition of not more than 250. My curiosity was raised, but nowhere on the internet or on stamp fairs I found such a special sheet. Until I suddenly came in 2014 on a website with information about issues from Malaysia, and read that at the end of 1999 the Malaysian Post had issued for the first time non-perforated commemorative sheets on special occasions and presentations. After some more translation work and searching I ended at a stamp trader who told that he could still obtain some of these sheets. Finally it lasted until the beginning of this year (2016) that he wrote me that he had acquired a few of these sheets. Below you see this sheet.

Speciaal vel Milleniumuitgifte Maleisië

The sheet shows on the left the block that we already know and on the right the clock tower with the important clockwork in the 12 o'clock position. Above it an explanative text about the palace and the celebration in 2 languages. The sheets have not yet been cut to the right size, which makes that the printer marks are still visible in the sheet margin.
I leave it an open question whether all the stories above are true, as I can nowhere find a confirmation of the numbers nor about the way of selling. Fact is that it is a quite hard to find item. In the end I have bought all (4) of the traders sheets. Because of the size the package with its solid enclosure was probably attractive for the customs to search for drugs, and therefore it arrived with an accompanying letter why the package had been opened and delayed. As such off course a nice story and postal item to the sheets. Unfortunately the package came in the hands of the tax service due to this action, which made the sheets a bit more expensive as import tax had to be paid. Anyhow we are pleased that we have found these special sheets and acquired them.


Hans de Kloet


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