In August 1963 a new Federation of Malaysia will (unless we stop it) be created. It will cover the Federation of Malaya, Singapore, Brunei, North Borneo, and Sarawak. It will be created in the face of known and serious opposition from the people in these countries.

Britain has the major responsibility for this unpopular Federation of Malaya (which is heavily dependent on British political, economic and military influence) to suppress the anti-colonial movements in the other four countries (particularly Singapore). The consent of our parliament is necessary for the inclusion of these four countries in the new Federation. At the root of it all lies the desire of the British government to "protect" the profits from rubber, tin, bauxite and iron ore in Malaya, and the oil, gold, rubber, and timber in the Borneo territories.

Brunei, Sarawak and North Borneo are on the island of Borneo, most of which belongs to Indonesia. They are separated from the Malayan Federation and Singapore by 350 miles of sea and have few historical links with Malaya. Their inclusion in Malaysia is therefore quite arbitrary, and it is being done simply to strengthen British indirect control over them for political, economic and strategic reasons. For one thing, Brunei has OIL! The three countries are strategically well placed, and they provide a good support area and training ground for the major British military, aid, and naval concentrations in the bases in the Malayan Federation and Singapore; for this reason, all the five Malaysia countries have recently been incorporated into the British Unified Command structure. The real nature of Malaysia can only be understood in the light of this Unified Command, covering exactly the same countries.

The opposition to Malaysia in the Borneo territories has been rapidly mounting since the new Federation was first mooted in May 1961. In Brunei, the opposition came to a climax in December 1962, when the Party Ra'ayat (People's Party) led an open revolt. This party won every single local and nationally elected seat, campaigning on its anti-Malaysia policy. There could be no clearer verdict of the people.

In April 1962 the Sarawak United People Party held a demonstration of 10,000 people against Malaysia, and some of their leaders were detained and deported. A rally protesting against these arrests, attended by 20,000 people, was then held at Sibu, after which all meetings were banned!

In North Borneo, there is no election of any sort; it is a 100% colony, and the voice of the people cannot be heard. However, North Borneo, of all the three countries, has the least possible interest in Malaysia, and opposition cannot be doubted.

Why should these countries want to be ruled from Kuala Lumpur in Malaya? They are increasingly conscious of their lack of democratic rights and wanting independence with a view to integration among themselves. Their future probably lies more with Indonesia than with Malaya. The decisive argument against Malaysia (as such) is the injustice of forcing the three Borneo territories into it against their will; the merger of Singapore with the mainland is a separate issue.

Singapore is an island but it is joined to the mainland by a road and rail causeway and is in every way part of Malaya. The whole country was "British Malaya" before the Japanese invasion in 1942. After the war, Britain proposed a Malayan Union which excluded Singapore. The reason for this exclusion was the importance of Singapore as a major British military, air, and naval base.

The Malayan Union scheme was opposed by both progressive and reactionary groups in Malaya, for different reasons. The reactionary groups won the ear of the British Labour government, and the Federation was created in 1948, with Singapore excluded.

The Federation of Malaya won independence in 1957, the British Conservative government of that time being satisfied that the feudal and business groups which dominated the Federation's Alliance government would not disturb their vital political, economic and military interests in the country, and would collaborate with Britain in opposing any radical trends. Since 1957, the Alliance government has faithfully carried out its duties along those lines, and the political and economic conditions of the people remain as they were, if not worse. Due to the heavy feudal and religious pressure on the Malaya peasantry, the political opposition to the Alliance is weak and has, in any case, to work in the context of laws enabling the government to arrest and detain opponents without charge or trial. However, the Malayan Labour Party and the Federation's Party Ra'ayat, United within the Malayan Socialist Front, oppose Malaysia.

Singapore has got limited internal self-government. In a small island bristling with British military "hardware," cut off from its hinterland across the Causeway, the emptiness of such self-government has become increasingly apparent. Singapore has in successive elections over the years elected government with increasingly progressive policies, but once in office, each has revealed these policies to be mere verbiage and has made its main work a continual attempt to suppress the socialist and trade union movement. Periodic mass arrests are the milestones of Singapore's recent history.

The People's Action Party under Mr.Lee Kuan Yew is the latest in the series of governments. It was elected with strong popular support in 1959. Within 18 months, the P.A.P. had shown that it had no intention of carrying out its promises, and popular support began to ebb away. In early 1961, it suffered a humiliating by-election defeat. This was "the writing on the wall" and, soon after, the Malaysia plan was announced, with the avowed aim of smashing  "communism" in Singapore. The P.A.P. hailed the plan as an oasis which could save them from disaster. The inevitability of that disaster was underlined by another by-election in which Malaysia was the main issue, and in which they were again defeated. Popular support for the P.A.P. sank to zero, and the left wing of the P.A.P. broke away to form the Socialist Front (Barisan Socialis), taking with them large chunks of the P.A.P. Parliamentary and trade union support.

It was clear that if a general election were fought with Malaysia as the main issue, the P.A.P. would suffer a total eclipse. Some way had to be found to provide the appearance of a democratic mandate. It was decided to take a leaf out of General de Gaulle's book and hold a Referendum. This took place on September 1st, 1962, and was an extraordinary piece of political trickery and pressure. It was widely agreed that at least 60% of the electorate was against Malaysia, yet a vote of 70% in favor of it was registered in the referendum. This was "too good to be true"; it was obvious that undue influence had been brought to bear.

Source: Doris Jones and Zurainee Tehek

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