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41 Foreign Aff. 673 (1962-1963)
Troubled Birth of Malaysia

handle is hein.journals/fora41 and id is 677 raw text is: THE TROUBLED BIRTH OF MALAYSIA
By Hamilton Fish Armstrong
HE Federation of Malaysia is scheduled to come into exist-
ence on August 31 of this year by the merger of the existing
Federation of Malaya with Singapore, the British colonies
of Sarawak and North Borneo and the British-protected Sultan-
ate of Brunei, thus forming a crescent well over a thousand miles
long from the borders of Thailand almost to within eyesight of
the southernmost Philippine islands. Although many difficulties
stand in the way, the British and Malayan Governments say
categorically that they will not be deterred from pushing the plan
through. Some of the difficulties are historical and local, for the
new Federation will be a rather arbitrary assemblage of widely
separated territories with mixed populations at different stages
of development. More important are the objections raised by
Indonesia and the Philippines.
President Sukarno of Indonesia condemns Malaysia as a colo-
nialist project because it will have a British defense guarantee;
he sees no inconsistency, however, in criticizing it in the same
breath as so weak that it will open the way for the southward
march of Communist China. The Philippines began by taking
the same position; but because its history gives it a different
outlook on the relations of independent states with former colo-
nial powers, it decided on second thought not to stress the criti-
cism of Malaysia as a device to prolong colonialism. However,
it joins Indonesia in claiming that China will find easier pickings
in a Malaysian federation than it would if the component terri-
tories remained separate bits of real estate with an uncertain
future. What they would like that future to be is not much of a
secret. An agitation is being carried on in Indonesia, without offi-
cial hindrance, for self-determination of the British territories
as a halfway house toward their inclusion in Indonesia; and
the Philippine Government has put forward a claim to residual
sovereignty in a part of North Borneo, based on a complicated
chain of inheritances from the last Sultan of Sulu.
This controversy has brought new uncertainties to the tense
situation already existing in Southeast Asia and given it a sharp
new focus in world politics. The conflict is particularly acute
between Indonesia and Malaya. They are the two nations of the

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