The Federation of Malaya (Malay: Persekutuan Tanah Melayu) is the name given to a federation of 11 states (nine state sand two of the British Straits Settlements, Penang and Malacca) that existed from 31 January 1948 until 16 September 1963. The Federation became independent on 31 August 1957. It was reconstituted as Malaysia with the addition in 1963 of Singapore, Sabah, and Sarawak. History From 1946 to 1948, the 11 states formed a single British crown colony known as the Malayan Union.
Due to opposition from Malay nationalists, the Union was disbanded and replaced by the Federation of Malaya, which restored the symbolic positions of the rulers of the Malay states. Within the Federation, while the Malay states were protectorates of the United Kingdom, Penang and Malacca remained British colonial territories.
In 1963, the Federation was reconstituted as “Malaysia” when it federated with the British territories of Singapore, Sarawak, and British North Borneo (renamed Sabah); the latter territory was claimed to be a part of the Sultanate of Sulu. Singapore separated from Malaysia to become an independent republic on 9 August 1965. The Federation Agreement The Federation of Malaya Agreement was formulated by the British–Malay Pleno Conference between June and December 1946. At the end of the meeting, the Pleno Conference produced a 100-page “Blue Book”.
Although enshrining concepts such as federalism and a constitutional monarchy, the proposed Malayan constitution by the Reid Commission also contained provisions protecting special position for the Malays, such as quotas in admission to higher education and the civil service, and making Islam the official religion of the federation. It also made Malay the official language of the nation, although the right to vernacular education in Chinese and Tamil would be protected.
Although Tunku Abdul Rahman and the Malay rulers had asked the Reid Commission to ensure that “in an independent Malaya all nationals should be accorded equal rights, privileges and opportunities and there must not be discrimination on grounds of race and creed,” the Malay’s special position, which many in the ruling United Malays National Organisation backed, were cited as necessary by the Reid Commission as a form of affirmative action.