31 August 1957: the Federation of Malaya declares independence from the UK

On this day in 1957, after ten years of preparation, the Federation of Malaya became an independent nation.

In 1771 the UK set up a trading post on the Malay Peninsula, in the northern province of Penang. Almost 200 years later, on 31 August 1957, the region would establish its own independent government, rebelling from the British and instituting The Federation of Malaya. In a significant move towards decolonisation, the new government united its 11 member states under the new flag, eventually leading to the formation of Malaysia as the nation we know today.

The political decisions that led to the autonomy of the Federation were made a decade before, though took years to implement as the decoupling process developed. At the end of the British-Malay Pleno Conference, which lasted from June to December in 1946, representatives from both parties agreed how the Federation would form its own sovereign state, signing what has now become the famous ‘Blue Book’ (the official document detailing the conditions of independence). This early form of government consisted of a dual system of legislative and executive councils, which balanced responsibilities between each other beneath the remaining British High Commissioner, who was advised by both parties in the conduct of policy during these interim years.

Finally, once the preparations and political infrastructure required for sovereign governance were developed significantly, the Federation of Malaya was declared an independent nation on this day in 1957, with Tunku Abdul Rahman becoming its first prime minister. Despite the ejection of Singapore in August 1965, the state of Malaysia has grown to prominence throughout Southeast Asia, with its capital Kuala Lumpur serving as one of the major trading hubs of the area.

Recommended

30 September 1965: Thunderbirds Are Go!
This day in history

30 September 1965: Thunderbirds Are Go!

On this day in 1965, International Rescue launched its first operation, as the classic Thunderbirds TV show aired for the first time.
30 Sep 2020
30 September 1935: The Hoover Dam is dedicated
This day in history

30 September 1935: The Hoover Dam is dedicated

On this day in 1935, thousands of spectators crowded into Black Canyon to see Franklin D Roosevelt celebrate the completion of “the greatest dam in th…
30 Sep 2020
29 September 1829: London’s bobbies pound the beat for the first time
This day in history

29 September 1829: London’s bobbies pound the beat for the first time

On this day in 1829, the first of London's 'Peelers' hit the streets as the Metropolitan Police Force began its patrols.
29 Sep 2020
28 September 1894: Marks & Spencer opens its first 'Penny Bazaar'
This day in history

28 September 1894: Marks & Spencer opens its first 'Penny Bazaar'

On this day in 1894, Michael Marks and Tom Spencer opened their first ‘Penny Bazaar’ market stall in Leeds.
28 Sep 2020

Most Popular

Investors are shunning UK stocks – but they might regret that in a year’s time
UK stockmarkets

Investors are shunning UK stocks – but they might regret that in a year’s time

There are a number of reasons why investors aren't buying UK stocks, says John Stepek. But they may want to rethink that strategy.
29 Sep 2020
Are we really in a stockmarket bubble?
US stockmarkets

Are we really in a stockmarket bubble?

The rise of “cash shell” companies, sky-high valuations – everything seems to point to a stockmarket bubble. But all may not quite be as it appears, s…
28 Sep 2020
How the stamp duty holiday is pushing up house prices
Stamp duty

How the stamp duty holiday is pushing up house prices

Stamp duty is an awful tax and should be replaced by something better. But its temporary removal is driving up house prices, says Merryn Somerset Webb…
25 Sep 2020