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Malaysia Agreement
Agreement relating to Malaysia between United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, Federation of Malaya, North Borneo, Sarawak and Singapore
Agreement relating to Malaysia
Drafted 15 November 1961
Signed 9 July 1963
Location London, United Kingdom
Sealed 31 July 1963
Effective 16 September 1963
Signatories Government of United Kingdom
Government of Malaya
Government of North Borneo
Government of Sarawak, and
Government of Singapore
Parties  United Kingdom
North Borneo
Depositary British Government
dated 21 September 1970
The Secretary-General of the  United Nations acting in his capacity as depositary the following:[1]
(English), (French), and (Malay)
Registered Nr. I-10760
Languages English and Malay
Agreement relating to Malaysia between United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, Federation of Malaya, North Borneo, Sarawak and Singapore at Wikisource

The Malaysia Agreement or the Agreement relating to Malaysia between United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, Federation of Malaya, North Borneo, Sarawak and Singapore was the agreement which combined North Borneo, Sarawak, and Singapore with the existing Federation of Malaya, the resulting union being named Malaysia.[2][3] Singapore later ceased to be a part of Malaysia, becoming an independent state on 9 August 1965.[4]


The Malayan Union was established by the British Malaya and comprised the Federated Malay States of Perak, Selangor, Negeri Sembilan, Pahang; the Unfederated Malay States of Kedah, Perlis, Kelantan, Terengganu, Johor; and the Straits Settlements of Penang and Malacca. It came into being in 1946, through a series of agreements between the United Kingdom and Malayan Union.[5] The Malayan Union was superseded by the Federation of Malaya on 1 February 1948, and achieved independence within the Commonwealth of Nations on 31 August 1957.[3]

After the end of the Second World War, decolonisation became the societal goal of the peoples under colonial regimes aspiring to achieve self-determination hereinafter, the Special Committee on Decolonisation (also known as the U.N. Special Committee of the 24 on Decolonisation, It reflected in the United Nations General Assembly's proclamation on 14 December 1960 of the Declaration on the Granting of Independence to Colonial Countries and Peoples hereinafter, the Committee of 24, or simply, the Decolonisation Committee) was established in 1961 by the General Assembly of the United Nations with the purpose of monitoring implementation of the Declaration on the Granting of Independence to Colonial Countries and Peoples and to make recommendations on its application.[6] The committee is also a successor to the former Committee on Information from Non-Self-Governing Territories. Hoping to speed the progress of decolonisation, the General Assembly had adopted in 1960 the Resolution 1514, also known as the "Declaration on the Granting of Independence to Colonial Countries and Peoples" or simply "Declaration on Decolonisation". It stated that all people have a right to self-determination and proclaimed that colonialism should be brought to a speedy and unconditional end.[7]

Under the Malaysia Agreement signed between Great Britain and the Federation of Malaya, Britain would enact an Act to relinquish sovereign control over Singapore, Sarawak and North Borneo (now Sabah). This was accomplished through the enactment of the Malaysia Act 1963, clause 1(1) of which states that on Malaysia Day, Her Majesty’s sovereignty and jurisdiction in respect of the new states shall be relinquished so as to vest in the manner agreed[8]

Decolonisation, self-determination and referendum[edit]

The issue of self-determination with respect to the peoples of North Borneo, Sarawak, and Singapore formed the bedrock of yet another challenge to the formation of the Federation of Malaysia. Under the Joint Statement issued by the British and Malayan Federal Governments on 23 November 1961, clause 4 provided: Before coming to any final decision it is necessary to ascertain the views of the peoples. It has accordingly been decided to set up a Commission to carry out this task and to make recommendations ........

In the spirit of ensuring that decolonisation was carried in accordance with the wishes of the peoples of North Borneo, the British Government, working with the Federation of Malaya Government, appointed a Commission of Enquiry for North Borneo and Sarawak in January 1962 to determine if the people supported the proposal to create a Federation of Malaysia. The five-man team, which comprised two Malayans and three British representatives, was headed by Lord Cameron Cobbold.[9]

Interestingly, the Cobbold Commission although include two representatives from the Federation of Malaya, there are no member representing North Borneo or Sarawak, thus making the veracity and thoroughness of its findings questionable as best. Furthermore, it is a common misunderstanding to consider the Cobbold Commission as a referendum since it only considers the opinion of 4,000 people and the 2,200 memorandums submitted.[10] This is a significant shortcoming, considering the total population of the two territories at the moment was amounting to approximately 1.2 million.

In Singapore, the People's Action Party (PAP) sought merger with Malaysia on the basis of the strong mandate it obtained during the general elections of 1959 when it won 43 of the 51 seats. However, this mandate became questionable when dissension within the Party led to a split. In July 1961, following a debate on a vote of confidence in the government, 13 PAP Assemblymen were expelled from the PAP for abstaining. They went on to form a new political party, the Barisan Sosialis, the PAP’s majority in the Legislative Assembly was whittled down as they now only commanded 30 of the 51 seats. More defections occurred until the PAP had a majority of just one seat in the Assembly. Given this situation, it would have been impossible to rely on the mandate achieved in 1959 to move forth with merger. A new mandate was necessary, especially since the Barisan argued that the terms of merger offered were detrimental to the Singapore people.

On 11 September 1963, just 4 days before the new Federation of Malaysia was to come into being, the Government of the State of Kelantan sought a declaration that the Malaysia Agreement and Malaysia Act were null and void, or alternatively, that even if they were valid, they did not bind the State of Kelantan. The Kelantan Government argued that both the Malaysia Agreement and the Malaysia Act were not binding on Kelantan on the following grounds that the Malaysia Act in effect abolished the Federation of Malaya and this was contrary to the 1957 Federation of Malaya Agreement that the proposed changes required the consent of each of the constituent states of the Federation of Malaya – including Kelantan – and this had not been obtained


The Malaysia Agreement lists annexes of

Annex A: Malaysia Bill
               First Schedule—Insertion of new Articles in Constitution
               Second Schedule—Section added to Eighth Schedule to Constitution
               Third Schedule—Citizenship (amendment of Second Schedule to Constitution)
               Fourth Schedule—Special Legislative Lists for Borneo States and Singapore
               Fifth Schedule—Additions for Borneo States to Tenth Schedule (Grants and assigned revenues) to Constitution
               Sixth Schedule—Minor and consequential amendments of Constitutions
Annex B: The Constitution of the State of Sabah
               The Schedule—Forms of Oaths and Affirmations
Annex C: The Constitution of the State of Sarawak
               The Schedule—Forms of Oaths and Affirmations
Annex D: The Constitution of the State of Singapore
               First Schedule—Forms of Oaths and Affirmations
               Second Schedule—Oath of Allegiance and Loyalty
               Third Schedule—Oath as Member of the Legislative Assembly
Annex F: Agreement of External Defence and Mutual Assistance
Annex G: North Borneo (Compensation and Retiring benefits) Order in Council, 1963
Annex H: Form of public officers agreements in respect of Sabah and Sarawak
Annex I: Form of public officers agreements in respect of Singapore
Annex J: Agreement between the Governments of the Federation of Malaya and Singapore on common and financial arrangements
               Annex to Annex J—Singapore customs ordinance
Annex K: Arrangements with respect to broadcasting and television in Singapore

See also[edit]


  1. ^ See : United Nations General Assembly Resolution 97 (1)
  2. ^ See: The UK Statute Law Database: the Acts of the Parliament of the United Kingdom Malaysia Act 1963
  3. ^ a b See: The UK Statute Law Database: the Acts of the Parliament of the United Kingdom Federation of Malaya Independence Act 1957 (c. 60)
  4. ^ See: the Independence of Singapore Agreement 1965 and the Acts of the Parliament of the United Kingdom Singapore Act 1966.
  5. ^ See: Cabinet Memorandum by the Secretary of State for the Colonies. 21 February 1956 Federation of Malaya Agreement
  6. ^ See: the United Nations Special Committee on Decolonisation - Official Website
  7. ^ See: History of U.N. Decolonisation Committee - Official U.N. Website
  8. ^ See: Section 1(1), Malaysia Act 1963, Chapter 35 (UK).
  9. ^ Cobbold was Governor of the Bank of England from 1949 to 1961. The other members were Wong Pow Nee, Chief Minister of Penang, Mohammed Ghazali Shafie, Permanent Secretary to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Anthony Abell, former Governor or Sarawak and David Watherston, former Chief Secretary of the Federation of Malaya.
  10. ^ "Formation of Malaysia 16 September 1963". National Archives of Malaysia. Retrieved 3 December 2014. 

External links[edit]

Further reading[edit]

Original courtesy of Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Malaysia_Agreement — Please support Wikipedia.
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694 news items

Malay Mail Online

Malay Mail Online
Thu, 26 Nov 2015 03:03:45 -0800

Picture by Sulok TawieKUCHING, Nov 26 ― Sarawak Opposition Leader Chong Chieng Jen today notified the state legislative assembly of a motion requesting the formation of a special committee to review the terms laid in the 1963 Malaysia Agreement ...

Malay Mail Online

Malay Mail Online
Thu, 19 Nov 2015 00:08:49 -0800

File picKUCHING, Nov 19 ― A Sarawak minister said today that the state government was merely upholding its right under the Malaysia Agreement 1963 by using English as the official language of the administration. He said the agreement, signed by ...
The Borneo Post
Sat, 28 Nov 2015 09:03:45 -0800

“This time, we must be firm and ready to exercise our constitutional and legal rights under the Malaysia Agreement to require the implementation of the assurances, undertakings and recommendations contained in the Inter-Governmental Committee Report ...

Free Malaysia Today

Free Malaysia Today
Fri, 30 Oct 2015 05:23:35 -0700

Later Sapa president Lina Soo told reporters that the ruling proved that Sarawakians had every right to speak out against any perceived violation of the Malaysia Agreement 1963 and the accompanying Inter-Governmental Committee (IGC) Report.


Daily Express
Tue, 03 Nov 2015 01:00:00 -0800

"If Pairin thinks the British government should be held accountable for the deterioration in Sabah including seeking interpretation of the safeguards in the Malaysia Agreement, he should sue in a London court, since the Malaysia Agreement was inked by ...

Free Malaysia Today

Malaysiakini (subscription)
Tue, 24 Nov 2015 16:33:45 -0800

Odin Tajué: Rais, Point 2 of the 18-Point/20-Point Malaysia Agreement says English shall be the official language of Borneo (Sarawak and Sabah) for all purposes, state or federal, without limitation of time. Do you understand English? Many of the ...

Malaysiakini (subscription)

Malaysiakini (subscription)
Fri, 27 Nov 2015 20:41:15 -0800

PKR president Dr Wan Azizah Wan Ismail today urged the 47 parliamentarian from Sabah and Sarawak to quit BN and form a new coalition for the two states. This is because, she said, the BN government has failed to honour the 18 and 20-point Malaysia ...

Free Malaysia Today

The Malaysian Insider
Tue, 24 Nov 2015 03:48:45 -0800

The state's Housing Minister Datuk Amar Abang Johari Tun Openg had earlier explained that the decision to make English the state's second language was Sarawak's rights under the Malaysia Agreement 1963 and Sarawak was merely upholding this right.

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