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

I wish I knew what bitcoin was, but I’m too embarrassed to ask
Too embarrassed to ask

I wish I knew what bitcoin was, but I’m too embarrassed to ask

This week, we explain just what bitcoin is – and why the cryptocurrency is so revolutionary.
25 Jan 2022
Bitcoin is down more than 50% since its all-time high. What is going on?
Bitcoin & crypto

Bitcoin is down more than 50% since its all-time high. What is going on?

Bitcoin, the world's most popular cryptocurrency, is trading more than 50% below its all-time high in November. Saloni Sardana explains why the digita…
24 Jan 2022
Too embarrassed to ask: what is a deficit?
Too embarrassed to ask

Too embarrassed to ask: what is a deficit?

When we talk about government spending and the public finances, we often hear the word ‘deficit’ being used. But what is a deficit, and why does it ma…
11 Jan 2022
I wish I knew what a SPAC was, but I’m too embarrassed to ask
Too embarrassed to ask

I wish I knew what a SPAC was, but I’m too embarrassed to ask

A financial instrument called a “special purpose acquisition company”, or SPAC for short, is growing increasingly popular in the US stockmarkets. But …
5 Jan 2022

Most Popular

Shareholder capitalism: why we must return power to listed companies’ ultimate owners
Investment strategy

Shareholder capitalism: why we must return power to listed companies’ ultimate owners

Under our system of shareholder capitalism it's not fund managers, it‘s the individual investors – the company's ultimate owners – who should be telli…
24 Jan 2022
Three innovative Asian stocks to buy now
Share tips

Three innovative Asian stocks to buy now

Professional investor Fay Ren of the Cerno Pacific Fund highlights three of her favourite Asian stocks to buy now
24 Jan 2022
Temple Bar’s Ian Lance and Nick Purves: the essence of value investing
Investment strategy

Temple Bar’s Ian Lance and Nick Purves: the essence of value investing

Ian Lance and Nick Purves of the Temple Bar investment trust explain the essence of “value investing” – buying something for less than its intrinsic v…
14 Jan 2022