For a long time, national day celebrations occurred on Merdeka Day (31st August) and the number of years of independence was counted from 1957.
Naturally, Sabah and Sarawak were not thrilled, since 31st August 1957 was of no historical importance of them. The celebrations only had historical meaning for West Malaysia.
A quick rewind, Tunku Abdul Rahman Putra Al-Haj, the Prime Minister of the Federation of Malaya, made a proposal to merge Brunei, Malaya, North Borneo (now known as Sabah), Sarawak, and Singapore on 27 May 1961.
In the two years that followed, major meetings were held to discuss the matter, and the Cobbold Commission was set up on 17 January 1962 to find out if the citizens of North Borneo and Sarawak supported the formation of ‘Malaysia’.
The findings of the Cobbold Commission eventually led to the signing of Malaysia Agreement in London on 9 July 1963. The agreement laid out the terms for the formation of the Federation of Malaysia – made up of Singapore, Malaya, Sarawak, and North Borneo.
The Federation of Malaysia was formally proclaimed on 16 September 1963. Here are some photos taken during the era leading up to the historic event:
1. Tunku Abdul Rahman put forward his proposal about the formation of Malaysia for the first time, during his speech at the Adelphi Hotel in Singapore on 27 May 1961.
2. The Cobbold Commission, led by Lord Cameron Fromanteel (Kim) Cobbold, was set up on 17 January 1962.
There were five members in the Cobbold Commission and it was headed by Lord Cobbold, the former governor of the Bank of England.
The other members were Sir Anthony Abell and Sir David Watherston. There were also two representatives from the Federation of Malaya, namely Datuk Wong Pow Nee and Mohamed Ghazali Shafie.
3. The arrival of Lord Cobbold and his wife at the Kuala Lumpur airport on 5 April 1962.
4. Results gathered by the Cobbold Commission revealed that 80% of the North Borneo and Sarawak citizens supported the notion of the establishment of Malaysia.
This report was then presented to the British government and the government of the Federation of Malaya on 21 June 1962.