Sir Donald MacGillivray, last of the British High Commissioners in the Federation of Malaya under the British system if indirect rule, speaking before the signing ceremony of the new independent agreement in Kuala Lumpur on August 5, said the time had come for a break in the old form of relations between Britain and the Malay States and the Settlements.
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Background: Sir Donald MacGillivray, last of the British High Commissioners in the Federation of Malaya under the British system if indirect rule, speaking before the signing ceremony of the new independent agreement in Kuala Lumpur on August 5, said the time had come for a break in the old form of relations between Britain and the Malay States and the Settlements. Henceforth the two countries would march forward together as equal partners in the Commonwealth of Nations. Old ties were broken, but new ties of sentiment respect and mutual trust were already there to take their place.
In a brilliant scene in which Their Highnesses the Rulers and other Notables of the Malay States took their places at the signing, the Sultan of Kedah, present Chairman of the conference of rulers, expressed Malaya's gratitude to Britain for making independence possible. "We pray to Almighty God", he said, "That what we are about to do will be of lasting benefit to the country".
The new Federation of Malaya agreement, which comes into force on August 31, refers to the agreement between Her Majesty the Queen and their Highnesses the Malay Rulers and the ruling chiefs of Negri Sembilan that the Federation of Malaya should become an independent country within the Commonwealth.
In the new fully independent Malaya, the Head of State or paramount ruler - the "Yang di-Pertuan Agong" - will be Tuanku Sir Abdul Bahman, ruler of the state of Negri Sembilan. (He is not to be confused with Tunku Abdul Rahman, Chief Minister of the Federation). The Head of State was elected by the rulers from among themselves He will be installed on September 2 for five years, when a new vote will be taken for his successor. The rulers have approved of the selection of the Sultan of Selangor, Sir Hisamuddin Alam Shah, as deputy paramount ruler.
First High Commissioner in Britain of the Federation of Malaya, Dato Nik Ahmed Kamil, is already in London.
Preparations for the celebration of Merderka are going ahead according to schedule. All important buildings in the Federal Capital are being given a face-lift. They include:
1. The Federal Secretariat (L.S., M.S., C.U.)
2. The Railway Station (L.S.)
3. Suleiman Building (tilt-up-shot and L.S.) which houses the Customs, Income Tax, Registration, Town Planning and other Government Departments.
Flags and decorations go up at the 9-storeyed Federal House with the assistance of the Fire Brigade. Conspicuous among the decorations is the Federation's coat-of-arms. The Residency, symbol of an era that has passed into history, is today the official residency of the Chief Minister, Tunku Abdul Rahman. After Merderka, it will continue to remain his residence as Prime Minister. The Merderka Stadium, where independence will be proclaimed on August 31, is in its final stage of completion. Four floodlighting towers rising to 140 ft will illuminate the arena for night events. The lawn is being got into perfect shape for the ceremonial parades and other sporting events that will take place and continue throughout Merderka Week. The Istana, where the Paramount ruler will reside, has been completely renovated. New furniture is being installed.
FAREWELL BANQUET The Malay Rulers gave a farewell banquet to the High Commissioner, Sir Donald MacGillivray and Lady MacGillivray at the Lake Club in Kuala Lumpur on August 3rd. On their arrival the guests of honour were received by the Keeper of the Ruler's Seal, Tuan Haji Mustapha Albakei. All eyes are centred on Yang di-Pertuan Besar of Negri Sembilan, His Highness Tuanku Abdul Rahman, who earlier in the day had been elected Paramount Ruler. With him is the Sultan of Selangor (on the right) who was elected deputy Paramount ruler. His Highness, the Sultan of Kedah, on behalf of the other rulers, paid a glowing tribute to Sir Donald and Lady MacGillivray. In the course of his speech, he was moved to say; "When the history of the country comes to be written, it is certain that their names will be written large across its pages for their inestimable contribution during the crucial years before Merderka. We shall never forget them". After toasting Their Highnesses the Rulers, Sir Donald described his five years in Malaya as "thrilling and eventful years". He ended by saying; "May the fundamental liberties of mankind bind together in unity the peoples of Malaya whose diversity is strength".
SIGNING OF THE NEW AGREEMENT. On Monday, August 5, the Malay Rulers and their High Commissioner, Sir Donald MacGillivray, met at King's House to sign the new Federation of Malaya agreement, 1957 - virtually the last formality towards the achievement of independence. From the grounds of King's House, Sir Donald leads the Paramount ruler-elect up the steps of the building. Inside the dining hall he shows the Presiding Ruler, the Sultan of Kedah to his chair. The other rulers then take their seats either side of the High Commissioner round the L-Shaped table. In a short speech before the signing, the High Commissioner, resplendent in his full navy blue ceremonial uniform, said that on an occasions such as this it was inevitable that their minds should run back over the years. It was 83 years ago that the first treaty of Perak was signed between the Chiefs and the Governor of the Straits Settlements, Sir Andrew Clark. "We think of the great names of the past and the landmarks in the history of this country; some of us who are older are sad because the old order of things can never return", he said, "But let us remember the words of the poet "Fear not the future, weep not the past", The time had come for a break in the old form of relations between Great Britain, as tutor, and the Malay States and Settlements as students. "Henceforth our two countries will march forward together as equal partners in the Commonwealth of Nations. Old ties are being broken but new ties, those of sentiment and mutual trust and respect, are already there to take their place"
Cut-away. 1. Yang di-Pertuan Besar, Negri Serbilan,
2. Sultan of Selangor
3. Sultan of Kelantan
4. Regent of Johore
5. Sultan of Pahang.
6. Sultans of Trengganu and Perak
7. Raja of Perlis
8. Sultan of Kedah
The new federation of Malaya agreement, 1957, is signed by His Excellency Sir Donald MacGillivray. The Chief Secretary, The Hon. Sir David Watherston, at tests his signature as witness.
The Malay rulers then sign the agreement in the following order:-
1. Sultan of Kedah
2. Regent of Johore
3. Yang di-Pertuan Besar of N.Sembilan
4. Sultan of Selangor
5. Sultan of Tergganu
6. Raja of Perlis
7. Sultan of Pahang
8. Sultan of Kelantan
Then it is the turn of the four Undangs of Negri Sembilan, the Tengku Besar of Tampin, followed by the Ruler's Witnesses. Stamped and sealed, the Federation of Malaya Agreement, 1957, The High Commissioner and the Rulers pose for a historic picture on the lawns of King's House.