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

1 April 1999: The minimum wage is introduced in Britain
This day in history

1 April 1999: The minimum wage is introduced in Britain

On this day in 1999, the national minimum wage was introduced in Britain, bringing an instant pay rise to 1.9 million low-paid workers.
1 Apr 2021
27 February 1900: The launch of the Labour Party
This day in history

27 February 1900: The launch of the Labour Party

Responding to the need for a single political party to represent the trade unions, the Labour Party was formed on this day in 1900.
27 Feb 2021
24 February 1981: Prince Charles and Lady Diana Spencer announce their engagement
This day in history

24 February 1981: Prince Charles and Lady Diana Spencer announce their engagement

On this day in 1981, Prince Charles and Lady Diana Spencer made their engagement official in front of the world's press at Buckingham Palace.
24 Feb 2021
24 February 1809: Drury Lane theatre burns down
This day in history

24 February 1809: Drury Lane theatre burns down

On this day in 1809, celebrated playwright Richard Sheridan was effectively ruined when the Drury Lane theatre went up in smoke.
24 Feb 2021

Most Popular

“Joke” cryptocurrency dogecoin goes to the moon. What’s going on?
Bitcoin

“Joke” cryptocurrency dogecoin goes to the moon. What’s going on?

Dogecoin – a cryptocurrency created as a joke – has risen by more than 9,000% this year alone. Saloni Sardana looks at how something that began as an …
19 Apr 2021
The FTSE 100 has clawed back above 7,000 – how much higher can it go?
UK stockmarkets

The FTSE 100 has clawed back above 7,000 – how much higher can it go?

The FTSE 100 index has risen to over 7,000 for the first time in over a year – it now sits just above where it was in 1999. But its era of neglect cou…
19 Apr 2021
The bitcoin bubble will burst: here’s how to play it
Bitcoin

The bitcoin bubble will burst: here’s how to play it

The cryptocurrency’s price has soared far beyond its fundamentals, says Matthew Partridge. Here, he looks at how to short bitcoin.
12 Apr 2021