THIS ARTICLE IS BASED ON THE ARCHIVE RETRIEVED BY TVSARAWAK AT SARAWAK MUSEUM. THIS ARTICLE IS JUST THE TIMELINE OF WHAT HAPPEN WHEN THE IDEA OF THE FORMATION OF MALAYSIA IS INTRODUCED ON 1961. ALL ARTICLES IS BASED ON FACTS ACCORDING TO THE ARCHIVE RETRIEVE AT SARAWAK MUSEUM. STAY TUNED FOR THE 1962 ARTICLES.
MAY 27, 1961, Malayan Prime Minister Tunku Abdul Rahman made public his idea of Malaysia, the People of Sarawak showed little response as they were focused on a closer association of Sarawak and North Borneo.
In June 1961, Party Negara Sarawak welcomed Tunku’s statement and called on him to bring about this closer association in preparation for the federation with Malaya.
Shortly after, Sarawak United People’s Party at that time said that Sarawak have to attained a large measure of self-government and independence and that Sarawak should first work for a federation with North Borneo before seeking confederation with Malaya.
The Governors of Sarawak at that time, Sir Alexander Waddell, Governor of North Borneo, Sir William Goode and High Commissioner in Brunei issued a statement saying that the three Borneo Territories should come closer before they made any move to join the federation of Malaya.
Sir Alexander Waddell at that time said the problems facing were similar to those of North Borneo where they were still backward compared with Malaya and Singapore and that response of the people there to the Malaysian idea had also been favorable.
Tunku Abdul Rahman paid a four-day visit to Sarawak in July 1961. At a press conference, he elaborated on his proposal and emphasized 4 main points if Sarawak ought to join on the Malaysia federation.
- It would be difficult for the Borneo Territories to be independent on their own without having the necessary resources to meet the costs involved and to develop their countries.
- Sarawak would enjoy “Absolute Equality” with the other autonomous states.
- Sarawak would enjoy the same privileges and benefits as other states and money would be available for development.
- There was no need for the Borneo Territories to form a federation and achieve independence before joining Malaya.
Founder and President of SUPP Mr Ong Kee Hui, political leaders from Brunei Sheikh Azahari and North Borneo Mr Donald Stephens against the proposals, while Party Negara Sarawak support and welcomed the suggestion of a commission. The plan would explore and discuss the idea of Malaysia in the conviction “that Malaysia can become a reality and a popular movement if the concept can be translated into a concrete plan for the mutual benefit of all the parties.”
Mr Stephen Kalong Ningkan, secretary-general of the Sarawak National Party expressed opposition to the Malaysia Plan.
In August 1961, views on the Malaysia Plan were aired by Council Negri for the first time at its meeting. At the council meeting, Acting Deputy Chief Secretary Mr, G.A.T Shaw said “Government has welcomed the public discussion which has ensued and is continuing and believes that further exchanges of views would be valuable such an association might take and also in determining the wishes of the people.
Towards the end of August, the first meeting of the Malaysia Solidarity Consultative Committee was held in Jesselton. It discussed a number of matters relating to the status and rights of the individual territories within the Malaysian framework, as well as such subjects as language rights, freedom of religion, education policy, land rights, immigration problems, and economic relations.
In September 1961, proposals for electoral and constitutional advance were published by Government in a White paper. They included the extension of the franchise to all persons over the age of 21, the reconstitution of the membership of Council Negri to consist of 24 elected members, 15 nominated members, three ex-officio members, and a Speaker. A membership system of Government, leading towards a Ministerial form was envisaged.
In October 1961, Tunku Abdul Rahman at the Malayan House of Representatives agree in principle with the Malaysia concept and endorse the government’s initiatives in taking action to deal with some of the major points that had raised controversy in the Borneo Territories in relation to the Malaysia Plan. They ranged from the fear that concept was an attempt to colonize the Borneo Territories and the question of whether there should be a federation of Sarawak, North Borneo and Brunei first before merger.
The Sarawak National Party (SNAP) issued a statement over its opposition to the Malaysia Plan saying that the country would become “Just A State Of Malaya”. The Kuching Municipal and Sibu Urban Districts Councils together with the SUPP criticized the electoral and constitutional proposals of Sarawak.
In November 1961, Council Negri endorsed the White Paper proposals for electoral and constitutional advance. A delegation of Five Malayan Socialist politicians and trade unionists visited Sarawak on a fact-finding tour and expressed support of the stand taken by the SUPP. British and Malayan Governments representatives held talks in London and agreed to set up a commission to ascertain views of the peoples in Sarawak and North Borneo and to make recommendations on the proposals of the Federation of Malaysia.
In December 1961, the second meeting of the Malaysia Solidarity Consultative Committee was held in Kuching and accept the support for the Malaysian Plan. Important subjects included during the meeting such as representation in Federal Government, civil service staffing and economic development. Not long after, the Sarawak National Party called for more details of the Malaysia Plan to be released.
STAY TUNED FOR 1962