The Commonwealth and Malaysia

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Introduction
The Commonwealth of Nations is a voluntary association of independent sovereign states, most of which were once governed by the United Kingdom and are its former colonies. It was formerly known as the British Commonwealth of Nations. The Commonwealth is an organisation where countries with diverse economic backgrounds have an opportunity for close and equal interaction. The primary activities of the Commonwealth are to create an atmosphere of economic cooperation between member nations, as well as the promotion of democracy and good governance in them. There are two terms that a country must fulfil for the country to become a part of the Commonwealth. The first term is that the country must have already achieved its independence. The second term is that the country has been part of Britain or a part of its colony. If any country fulfils these two requirements they can automatically be a part of the Commonwealth (WordIQ.com 2011). The main objective of Commonwealth is to provide facilities and benefit to member countries and to have diplomatic relations between members and non member countries

History
Origins of Commonwealth The idea of the Commonwealth took root in the 19th century. In 1867 Canada became the first colony to be transformed into self -governing ‘Dominion’ and others followed. In 1884, the politician Lord Rosebery became the first to call this changing British Empire as the ‘Commonwealth of Nations’. In 1931, the United Kingdom parliament adopted the statue of Westminster, forming the legal foundation of what was to become of the Commonwealth. Under the Statute, the Dominions of Canada, Newfoundland, Australia, New Zealand, South Africa and the Irish Free State became autonomous communities within the British Empire, equal in status and freely associated as members of the British Commonwealth of Nations (Commonwealth Secretariat 2011) In 1930 the first Empire Games later to be known as the Commonwealth Games was held for the first

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