When UMNO was formed on 11 May 1946, its initial objective was to get Malayan Union to be withdrawn. Later, UMNO was an integral part of the ‘Tanah Melayu Treaty’ dated 1 February 1948, which laid the fundamentals of statehood what we now know as Federation of Malaysia.
In 1951, UMNO started its active campaign to fight for Independence. During the first general elections to elect the consultative council to Federation of Malaya in 1955, UMNO partnered with MCA and MIC and as Alliance Party, swept 51 out of 52 seats contested. With that mandate, UMNO President Tunku Abdul Rahman Putra was appointed Chief Minister of Malaya and formed a team to negotiate for Independence.
The wisdom and capability of Tunku won the trust and agreement of HRH Malay Rulers in a ‘Social Contract’ to opt for a Constitutional Monarchy democratic system and enshrined specific Malay and Rulers’ rights and Islam as the religion of the Federation in the Federal Constitution. In return, the Non Malays were accorded with the rights as citizens where in the 1948 treaty, the ‘subjects of HRHs’ were only for the Malays.
Whitehall gave Malayans their sovereign nation on 31 August 1957. The Federal Government consists of His Majesty Seri Paduka Baginda Yang DiPertuan Agong elected and rotated between the nine HRHs every five years and a Parliament consisting of the Dewan Rakyat and Dewan Negara, where a Prime Minister of the majority mandate sits as the Executive. The civil service, armed forces and judiciary is also styled after the Commonwealth system.
At the stroke of midnight on 31 August 1957 at the Selangor Club Padang, ‘God Save The Queen’ was played on Malayan soil for the last time and the Union Jack was officially reeled down the flag pole. Moments later, hoisted up came the new Malayan flag and the shouts of ‘Merdeka’, three times by the cheering crowds of Malayans. The next morning, at the newly built Merdeka Stadium an official handing over of the interments of independence from Queen Elizabeth Ii’s special envoy, Duke of Glouscester to Prime Minister of Federation of Malaysia Tunku Abdul Rahman.
“Merdeka! Merdeka! Merdeka! Merdeka! Merdeka! Merdeka! Merdeka!”, was Tunku’s immortal proclamation. The Negaraku was played for the first time as the Malayan flag was hoisted up. A new sovereign nation was born.
Tunku promised peace. Tunku promised harmony. Tunku promised progress. Tunku promised development. Tunku promised transformation. Tunku promised Federation of Malaya would be a better nation for all, with better opportunities and economic development programs for the rakyat.
Tunku Abdul Rahman Putra’s legacy lives on. After 55 years from what and where Tunku started, struggled, nurtured and left behind, the nation is brought to much different level. Malaysia has progressed and transformed so far ahead. Tunku’s promises were kept. His work was continued and carried on by streams of Alliance Party and later, Barisan Nasional leader.
The economy grew by 4000%. Malaysia today is the 17th largest world trading nation and foreign reserve of RM 430 billion, which could sustain ten and a half months of imports. The market capitalization of the listed companies stand at over RM 1.3 trillion. The assets of Malaysian banks are aggregated at over RM 1.4 trillion.
Malaysia aspires to be a developed and industrial nation status, high value economy and a high income workforce. The nation’s transformation process is still at play.
Janji DiTepati. Selamat Menyambut Kemerdekaan for the 55th time.