Malaysia Independence Day Supplement: History of independence — 52 years ago Arab News
The struggle to search for independence began in 1511 and took more than 446 years. It ended with the declaration of national independence on Aug. 31, 1957. The termination of the Malayan Union in 1948 made the British to commit themselves to prepare the way for the federation’s independence. Under the twin pressure of the emergency and the development of a strong Malay nationalist movement, that is UMNO, the British introduced elections in 1951 at the local level. The problem of obtaining political cooperation among the main ethnic groups in the country to fight for independence was resolved by the successful establishment of an alliance between UMNO and the Malayan Chinese Association (MCA), the two principal communal parties and later joined by the Malayan Indian Congress (MIC). When the first federal elections were held in 1955, the UMNO-MCA-MIC Alliance, which was headed by Tunku Abdul Rahman, won an overwhelming victory, that is 51 out of the 52 seats contested. YTM Tunku Abdul Rahman was appointed the Federation of Malaya’s first Chief Minister. The alliance was successful in pressuring the British to relinquish their sovereignty and the Federation of Malaya achieved its independence on Aug. 31, 1957. On that day, YTM Tunku Abdul Rahman Putra Al-Haj poignantly read out the Proclamation of Independence. The proclamation acknowledges all Malay states including Malacca and Pulau Pinang shall forever remain a sovereign, democratic and independent state founded upon the principle of democracy. Transcript of YTM Tunku Abdul Rahman’s speech as follows:
Your Majesties, Your Royal Highnesses, Your Highnesses, Your Excellencies, People of Persekutuan Tanah Melayu. I am indeed proud that on this, the greatest day in Malaya’s history it falls to my lot to proclaim the formal independence of this country. Today as new page is turned, and Malaya steps forward to take her rightful place as a free and independent partner in the great comity of nations - a new nation is born and though we fully realize that difficulties and problems lie ahead, we are confident that, with the blessing of God, these difficulties will be overcome and that today’s events, down the avenues of history, will be our inspiration and our guide. It is therefore with a feeling of particular solemnity that we have listened to the eloquent words of His Royal Highness and in particular to the moving message he has conveyed from Her Majesty the Queen. We are indeed honored that Her Majesty should have deputed her own uncle, His Royal Highness, to be with us on this occasion particularly when we remember that he is no stranger to this land: We recall too with pleasure his previous visit to Malaya and happy recollections of his stay have remained with us. His Royal Highness has spoken in moving words of the past associations of our two countries. We in Malaya have a long history, but we do not lightly forget old relationships. For many years past our fortunes have been linked with those of Great Britain and we recall in particular the comradeship of two world wars. We remember too the products of our association; justice before the law, the legacy of an efficient public service and the highest standard of living in Asia. We shall therefore always remember with gratitude the assistance which we have received from Great Britain down our long path to nationhood; an assistance which culminated today with the proclamation of Malaya’s independence. But the long-standing friendship between our countries does not cease with independence: Rather it takes on a new form. As you have heard in the gracious message from Her Majesty the Queen, Malaya will henceforward take her place in the great Commonwealth of Independent Nations whose members are found in all parts of the world, and as an...
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