Federation of Malaya

 

Map of Federation of MalayaFlag of Federation of Malaya

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

In the Federated Malay States a federal council had been created in 1906. A high commissioner presided over the council. Throughout the first half of the 20th century government remained extremely decentralized, with each state possessing considerable autonomy. But British control was paramount, and already some Malays were demanding a greater voice in the affairs of their country.

 

Any further constitutional developments were put on hold by the Japanese invasion of Malaya in December 1941. In 1940 the Japanese had taken over French Indochina by agreement with the collaborationist Vichy government, and it was from Indochina that Japan launched its surprise blitzkrieg attack down the Malay Peninsula. The unprepared British forces were forced into a rapid southward retreat, withdrawing to the supposedly impregnable fortress of Singapore. However, Singapore's defences were all directed towards the sea, and the Japanese came by land. The British in Singapore, recently reinforced by the arrival of many Australian troops, were forced to surrender on 15 February 1942, leaving Japan occupying the whole of Malaya.

 

The defeat of the British at the hands of an Asian power opened the eyes of many Chinese and Malays to the myth of European superiority. However, the Japanese occupation was not generally welcomed, and armed resistance to the Japanese was conducted by pro-communist Chinese guerrillas. In August 1945, when the Allies were preparing for a campaign for the liberation of Malaya, the dropping of the atom bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki brought about the unconditional surrender of the Japanese. In September 1945 a British military administration was established under the Supreme Allied Commander, Southeast Asia, whose headquarters were in Singapore.


In January 1946 the British government published proposals for a Malayan Union, which would unite the whole of the peninsula (except
Singapore, which was to become a separate colony) under a governor and a strong central government, and which considerably curtailed the authority of the rulers and the states. These proposals were strongly resisted by the Malays, who rapidly formed a political organization, the United Malay National Organization, with branches all over the country. Their attitude was supported by a group of retired Malayan civil servants in England and the scheme for a Malayan Union was abandoned.

 

In its place the Federation of Malaya Agreement was signed in Kuala Lumpur on 21 January 1948, and came into force on 1 February of that year. This agreement provided for a high commissioner and a federal legislative council. A considerable degree of authority was restored to the rulers, acting in consultation with their state executive councils, and a form of common citizenship was created for all who acknowledged Malaya as their permanent home and the object of their undivided loyalty. Within this framework the settlements of Penang and Malacca remained British territory, and Singapore became a separate colony under its own governor.

 

The year in which the Federation was inaugurated saw the outbreak of a serious communist revolt. The communists – who had mounted a campaign of active resistance to the Japanese – had hoped to gain control of the country in September 1945, but they were forestalled by the arrival of the British military administration. During the next two years they made increasingly determined efforts to paralyze the economic recovery of the country, and finally launched a campaign of violence and murder in which the principal targets were British rubber planters and tin miners, and those Chinese who actively opposed them. A state of emergency was declared in June 1948. Captured documents have shown that the communists had hoped to declare a communist republic on 3 August 1948.

The number of active communist guerrillas probably never exceeded 7.000, the majority of them Chinese, but they proved an elusive enemy. In spite of increasingly effective measures, a communist hard core was still in armed revolt in July 1955, when a general election was held to elect members to the federal legislative council. All except one of those elected were members of the Alliance Party led by Tunku (Prince) Abdul Rahman, who then became chief minister.

 

Subsequently the Alliance Party, a coalition of the major communal organizations (United Malay National Organization, Malaysian Chinese Association, Malaysian Indian Congress, and, at the formation of Malaysia, Sarawak Alliance and Sabah Alliance) dominated Malayan, and then Malaysian, politics.

 

On 9 September 1955 Tunku Abdul Rahman's government declared an amnesty for the communists, thereby fulfilling an election promise, but this was withdrawn in February 1956 after rejection by the communists and some fruitless attempts at negotiation. The number of active guerrillas dwindled until in 1960 the state of emergency was declared at an end. Their remarkable decline since 1948 was due to the effective action of the security forces and, after 1955, to the counter-attraction that Tunku Abdul Rahman's administration had for the great majority of Malaya's people, including those of Chinese origin.

 

The Alliance Party was pledged to press for immediate Malayan independence. In January 1956 the chief minister led a Merdeka (independence) mission to London where, in February, agreement was reached with the colonial secretary bringing self-government into effect and envisaging full independence for the Federation within the Commonwealth by 31 August 1957. Early in March 1956 an independent commission was appointed to make recommendations for a form of constitution for a fully independent and self-governing Malaya. In May 1957 the chief minister again took to London a delegation in order to reach final agreement on independence for the Federation.

 

Malaya became an independent state on 31 August 1957 and remained a member of the Commonwealth. Malaya's relations with Britain after independence remained close. In 1963 the country became part of the Federation of Malaysia.

 

 

Capital:                      Kuala Lumpur

Government:              Constitutional monarchy

Area:                         132.364 km²

Population:                 6.258.758 (1957)

Currency:                   Malaya and British Borneo dollar (100 cents)

 

 

 

Links

 

Federation of Malaya in Wikipedia.

Flag of Federation of Malaya in Flags of the World.

 

 

 

Stamp catalogue

 

14th ECAFE Conference, Kuala Lumpur

date:                  5 March 1958

designer:            -

printer:               De la Rue, London

perforated:         13½ (1) and 12½ (2)

 

1     12 CENTS     UN emblem, text "ECAFE / CONFERENCE / KUALA / LUMPUR 1958"

                          multicoloured

                          (cat. Michel 6/SG 6/Yvert )

 

Federation of Malaya - stamp as described above

 

2     30 CENTS     UN emblem, text "ECAFE CONFERENCE / KUALA LUMPUR 1958"

                          multicoloured

                          (cat. Michel 6/SG 6/Yvert )

 

Federation of Malaya - stamp as described above

 

 

Universal Declaration of Human Rights 10th anniversary

date:                  10 December 1958

designer:            J.P. Hendroff

printer:               De la Rue, London

perforated:         12½:13 (3) and 13:12½ (4)

 

3     10 CENTS     torch, broken chain, olive branch, flag of Malaya, text "HUMAN RIGHTS / TENTH /

                          ANNIVERSARY / 10TH DECEMBER, 1958"

                          multicoloured

                          (cat. Michel 10/SG 10/Yvert )

 

Federation of Malaya - stamp as described above

 

4     30 CENTS     man with torch of freedom and broken chain, globe with map of Malaya, text "10TH

                          ANNIVERSARY / HUMAN RIGHTS / 10th. December, 1958."

                          deep green

                          (cat. Michel 11/SG 11/Yvert )

 

Federation of Malaya - stamp as described above

 

 

World Refugee Year

date:                  7 April 1960

designer:            -

printer:               De la Rue, London

perforated:         13½ (5) and 12½:13 (6)

 

5     12 CENTS     WRY emblem, text "WORLD / REFUGEE / YEAR 1960" (also in Arabic)

                          purple

                          (cat. Michel 15/SG 15/Yvert )

 

Federation of Malaya - stamp as described above

 

6     30 CENTS     WRY emblem, text "WORLD REFUGEE YEAR 1960" (also in Arabic)

                          deep green

                          (cat. Michel 16/SG 16/Yvert )

 

Federation of Malaya - stamp as described above

 

 

The World United Against Malaria

date:                  7 April 1962

designer:            -

printer:               Harrison & Sons, London

perforated:         14:14½

 

7     25 CENTS     campaign emblem, text "THE WORLD UNITED AGAINST MALARIA"

                          orange-brown

                          (cat. Michel 23/SG 23/Yvert )

 

Federation of Malaya - stamp as described above

 

8     30 CENTS     campaign emblem, text "THE WORLD UNITED AGAINST MALARIA"

                          deep lilac

                          (cat. Michel 24/SG 24/Yvert )

 

Federation of Malaya - stamp as described above

 

9     50 CENTS     campaign emblem, text "THE WORLD UNITED AGAINST MALARIA"

                          ultramarine

                          (cat. Michel 25/SG 25/Yvert )

 

Federation of Malaya - stamp as described above

 

 

Freedom from Hunger Campaign

date:                  21 March 1963

designer:            -

printer:               Courvoisier, La-Chaux-de-Fonds, Switzerland

perforated:         11¾

 

10    25 SEN         harvester, fisherman, cattle, campaign emblem, text "MENCHEGAH KELAPARAN"

                          carmine, apple-green

                          (cat. Michel 32/SG 32/Yvert )

 

Federation of Malaya - stamp as described above

 

11    30 SEN         harvester, fisherman, cattle, campaign emblem, text "MENCHEGAH KELAPARAN"

                          carmine, crimson

                          (cat. Michel 33/SG 33/Yvert )

 

Federation of Malaya - stamp as described above

 

12    50 SEN         harvester, fisherman, cattle, campaign emblem, text "MENCHEGAH KELAPARAN"

                          carmine, bright blue

                          (cat. Michel 34/SG 34/Yvert )

 

Federation of Malaya - stamp as described above

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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last revised: 25 September 2008