THE QUESTION OF MALAYSIA
EXCHANGE OF CORRESPONDENCE
The proposal for the formation of Malaysia was first made by the Prime Minister of the Federation of Malaya in May 1961, and a Malaysia Solidarity Consultative Committee was established at a regional meeting of the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association in July of the same year. Following a report by a Commission of Enquiry (the Cobbold Commission), which had conducted meetings in Sarawak and North Borneo from February to April 1962, the Governments of the United Kingdom and the Federation of Malaya issued a joint statement, on 1 August 1962, that in principle the Federation of Malaysia should be established by 31 August 1963. A formal agreement was prepared and signed in London 9 July 1963 on behalf of the Governments concerned (the Federation of Malaya, North Borneo, Sarawak and Singapore).
On 5 August 1963, following a six-day meeting in Manila of the Heads of Government of the Federation of Malaya, Indonesia and the Philippines, the Foreign Ministers of these three States cabled the Secretary-General of the United Nations, requesting him to send working teams to Sabah (North Borneo) and Sarawak in order to ascertain the wishes of these peoples with respect to the proposed Federation. The three Governments would similarly send observers to the two territories to witness the investigations of the working teams and the Federation of Malaya would do its best to ensure the co-operation of the British Government and of the Governments of Sabah and Sarawak.
The terms of reference of the request to the Secretary-General were set out in paragraph 4 of the Manila Joint Statement as quoted in the request addressed to the Secretary-General by the three Foreign Ministers:
The Secretary-General or his representative should ascertain, prior to the establishment of the Federation of Malaysia, the wishes of the people of Sabah (North Borneo) and Sarawak within the context of General Assembly resolution 1541(XV), Principle IX of the Annex, by a fresh approach, which in the opinion of the Secretary-General is necessary to ensure complete compliance with the principle of self-determination within the requirements embodied in Principle IX, taking into consideration: (1) The recent elections in Sabah (North Borneo) and Sarawak but nevertheless further examining, verifying and satisfying himself as to whether: (a) Malaysia was a major issue if not the major issue; (b) electoral registers were properly compiled; (c) elections were free and there was no coercion; and (d) votes were properly polled and properly counted; and (2) the wishes of those who, being qualified to vote, would have exercised their right of self-determination in the recent elections had it not been for their detention for political activities, imprisonment for political offences or absence from Sabah (North Borneo) or Sarawak.