September 16, 1963, marks the day on which the former British colony of Singapore and the eastern Malayan states of Sabah and Sarawak joined the Federation of Malaya to form the Malaysian Federation. Singapore was expelled on 9 August 1965, after two years as part of Malaysia. Today, the 16th of September is a public holiday in Malaysia, known as “Hari Malaysia.”To commemorate this historic event for Malaysia, let’s jump back in time and explore how Malaysia was first formed.
31st August 1957
The Malayan Declaration of Independence was officially proclaimed by Tunku Abdul Rahman, the first Chief Minister of the Federation of Malaya, on 31 August 1957. At exactly 930 a.m., the proclamation document was read in the ceremony at the Merdeka Stadium, in the presence of thousands of Malayan citizens, Malayan rulers and foreign dignitaries. The proclamation acknowledges the establishment of an independent and democratic Malaya Federation, which came into effect at the end of the British protectorate over nine Malaya states and the end of British colonial rule in two Straits Settlements, Malacca and Penang.
17th January 1962
The Cobbold Commission was set up to determine whether the people of North Borneo and Sarawak supported the proposal to establish the Federation of Malaysia consisting of Malaya, Brunei, Singapore, North Borneo and Sarawak. When it was finally agreed, the Cobbold Commission pushed forward the merger of these independent states and colonies.
9th July 1963
The Malaysia Agreement was signed by the British Malaya, North Borneo, Sarawak and Singapore on 9 July 1963. It was only on 20 August 1963 that the Malaya’s Parliament passed the Malaysia Act. The Malaysia Day was initially scheduled for 31 August 1963 but was postponed until 16 September 1963 to allow the United Nations (UN) time to determine and complete a report on whether Indonesia and the Philippines wish to be part of Malaysia.
22nd July 1963
Sarawak was granted independence self-rule on 22nd July 1963, on the expectation that it would jointly form the Federation of Malaysia on 16th September the same year.
9th August 1963
Singapore declared its independence from the British Empire, with Yusof bin Ishak as the head of state(Yang di-Pertuan Negara) and Lee Kuan Yew as prime minister. Sixteen days later, Singapore, along with Sabah and Sarawak, would join the Federation of Malaysia as the 14th State starting on 16 September 1963 but would declare independence again on 9 August 1965. The Constitution of the State of 1963 is adopted on the same day.
31st August 1963
North Borneo began the Self-Government Administration of the British Empire on 31 August 1963, which coincides with the 6th anniversary of the independence of Malaya. That day, North Borneo was renamed Sabah. It was also the day on which Malaysia was planned to be formed, but faced with fierce objections from neighbouring Indonesia and the Philippines, the declaration was delayed until 16 September 1963.
16th September 1963
The Federation of Malaya, Singapore, British North Borneo(as the State of Sabah) and Sarawak merged to form Malaysia. The declaration of Malaysia ceremony was held at Stadium Merdeka in Kuala Lumpur, the same place where 7 years earlier Malaya’s independence ceremony had taken place. In front of some 30,000 people, Prime Minister Tunku Abdul Rahman recited the Malaysia Declaration followed by a seven-fold “Merdeka” chant.
9th August 1965
Prime Minister Tunku Abdul Rahman advised the Malaysian Parliament that it should decide to expel Singapore from the Federation, as ethnic conflicts are on the rise and there are ongoing disputes between the People’s Action Party (PAP) and the United Malaysian National Organization (UMNO). Parliament passed a 126-0 vote on 9 August 1965, resulting in Singapore and Malaysia to become separate nations in 1966.
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