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History of Malaysia

QUESTION: In 1961, Tunku Abdul Rahman propsed the creation of Malaysia and this proposal led to the formation of Malaysia. Trace events that led Singapore joining Malaysia and the reasons for its eventual exit from Malaysia in 1965. IDEAS AND SUGGESTIONS THAT LED TO THE FORMATION OF MALAYSIA In the year 1887, Lord Brassey, director of North Borneo Company suggested that the Malayan states and Singapore be joined with Sarawak and Sabah. The purpose of this joint was to look after the British administration and economy.

This suggestion was brought up in the British cabinet in the year 1888 and once again in 1932. However, no decision was made. Frank Swettenham did suggest this before the Second World War. The suggestion did not get any response from the locals. During that period, the British had never shown any interest in advancing the administration of the joint states to the direction of independence. Malcom MacDonald, the British High Commissioner in Southeast Asia after the Second World War again suggest the joining of Malaya, Singapore, Sarawak and Sabah.

He tried to equalize the administration of the states so that the political opportunity was more compact but once again it did not take off. Then in 1955, David Marshall, Head Minister of Singapore and Lim Yew Hock suggested once again the joining of these states. However this time Tunku Abdul Rahman declined because he felt it would cause unequal number of citizens. Then in 1959 Lee Kuan Yew pushed the British to discuss the matter with Tunku Abdul Rahman, Finally in 1961, Tunku Abdul Rahman announced his suggestion to combine the states including Brunei.

His reasoning was that it would help ascertain political stability as well as social needs and economical balance. He also felt that in order for this to happen, co-operation between the British and the citizens was required. FACTORS OF THE FORMATION OF MALAYSIA Among the factors to cause the formation of Malaysia was politics. A great worry was that the safety of the states was at stakes. This was especially when the communist based Socialist Party in Singapore won a small election in Hong Lim.

Lee Kuan Yew worried that their influence could jeopardize his wish for independence from the British. Furthermore, if Singapore was to be part of Malaysia, the Socialist Party’s influence could be greatly reduced. Another event to cause worry was when Clandestine Communist Organization planned to make Sarawak a communist state. Also with the joining of Malaya, Singapore, Sarawak, Sabah and Brunei, it would consolidate a faster independence from the British. In the year 1960, the United Nations brought up the issue of giving the conquered countries independence.

The formation of Malaysia was in line with the British’ decolonization act to all small nations. Furthermore, the economical factor also caused the formation of Malaysia. With it’s formation the advancement of the economy as a whole could occur and with it a larger market could be form as well as a larger variety of natural resources that could encourage investments. Tunku Abdul Rahman’s fear of unequal races was solved with the joining of Sabah, Sarawak and Brunei. Because with these states, the number of indigenous people would be larger. REACTIONS TOWARDS THE IDEA OF FORMATION

After the announcement of the joining of the states, there were different reactions. Within Malaya itself on the surface all political parties agreed to the formation of Malaysia but had different ideas on how it should be carried out. PAS and Barisan Sosialis wanted this suggestion to be discussed first amongst the people. People’s Party on the other hand wanted Singapore to join first before Sabah, Sarawak and Brunei. UMNO agreed to the joining of only Sarawak, Sabah and Brunei. In Singapore, Lee Kuan Yew who was leading People’s Action Party welcomed the formation.

The Socialist Party on the other hand was against the formation because they felt Malaysia was just a new type of occupation. In the end, they requested to have a collection of opinions from the Singaporean’s on the formation. Their request was also supported by United Citizens Party. A referendum in reference to the issue and conditions of the formation was held on the 1st of September 1962. In Sarawak on the other hand, their first reaction was that their leaders objected to the formation in the early stages due to no confidence in their ability to rule and a lot of them wanted to be given independence first.

The Chinese in Sarawak also felt worried with this formation because they feared their economic standing would be at risk. The political parties there such as ‘Parti Negara Sarawak’, ‘Parti Kebangsaan Sarawak’, ‘Parti Pesaka Anak Sarawak’, and Chinese of Sarawak Organization agreed to the formation after being given explanations by the Malayan government. In the end, ‘Parti Perikatan Sarawak’ was the combination of the parties and gave their green light to the formation of Malaysia. In Sabah, in the early stages, many of their leaders too did not agree to the idea of Malaysia.

After being given explanations and further information by the leaders of Malaya, all the political parties in Sabah agreed to Sabah joining Malaysia especially after the formation of ‘Parti Perikatan Sabah’. This party came up with 20 conditions which was then known as ’20 Perkara’ which was related to the importance and problems faced by Sabahans to be evaluated. This claim was also copied by Sarawak. Later this was placed also in the Malaysian Constitution by the Inter Government Committee after a few edits.

Amongst the important things brought up was the special rights ad importance of the citizens of Sabah and Sarawak also known as Rights of the Foreign Province which covered the national language, religion of Islam, special treatment to aborigines, citizenship and education. All these areas made the difference between the Constitution of Malaysia and Constitution of Malaya. The change of heart in Sabah and Sarawak was due to the efforts made by both the British and Malayan government giving thorough explanations of Malaysia and their consideration towards the views of the people.

Also the spirit of unity and toleration which was shown by the leaders from Malaya susch as Tunku Abdul Rahman, Tunku Abdul Razak, Tun V. T. Sambathan and Tun Tan Siew Sin. Also the cooperation given by the leaders in Sarawak and Sabah like Datu Mustapa Datu Harun, Temenggung Jugah, Donald Stephen and Ong Kee Hui. Lastly in Brunei, in the early stages, the Sultan of Brunei agreed to join Malaysia to look after Brunei’s safety. A committee was formed to collect the citizens opinions on this matter. Brunei’s Citizen Party which was lead by A. M. Azahari was against the formation because he felt the Malaysia was a neo-colonization.

He also wanted to form the Republic of Borneo which is a North Kalimantan government which would fail if Malaysia were to form. On the 7th of December 1962, a revolt by this party under the National North Kalimantan Soldiers occurred. This revolt was launched when a meeting was held causing the Sultan of Brunei to post-phone the formation of Malaysia. Both Indonesia and Philippines gave support to this revolt. A. M. Azahari was not caught because he was in Manila and was later given political protection in Indonesia. In the end, the Sultan of Brunei had no choice but to withdraw from joining Malaysia.

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