A DECADE OF DEVELOPMENT
The first decade of independence for Malaysia from 1957 to 1967 is a decade of progress in many fields particularly in development both social and economic. The main aim of the Alliance Government during the decade was to make Malaysia a peaceful, happy and prosperous Nation.
When the Federation of Malaya achieved independence on the 31st of August 1957 she had many problems. Malaya was a country with seven million people of various races belonging to different religions, having different customs and different languages. At the same time the communist terrorists were waging a relentless war against the Government and the people. And so this young nation had to be organized well enough to meet not only the challenge of a ruthless enemy but also to conduct a process of assimilation and growth whereby the heterogeneous elements within society could be moulded into a nation with common aims and outlook.
During the Second World War the people suffered untold hardships and they resolved that they should in future hold their destiny in their own hands and almost immediately after the Second World War came to an end the movement for Independence began. With the achievement of Independence in 1957 the people were free to chart a course for the nation.
Clearly it is the duty of the elected Government to make this possible. But the terrorist war had to be ended so that all efforts could be concentrated on development. With the will of the people and the concentrated effort of the Government, the Communist Terrorist campaign was ended in 1960 and the Government was enabled to give development top priority. This was a twin pronged movement with emphasis on rural development so as to correct the economic imbalance between the rural and urban people and also almost concurrently on urban development mainly industrial to stabilize the economy of the country. The technique of coordinated activity used in the war to combat communist terrorism was adopted for national and rural development. This technique is the well-known Operation Room technique of Malaysia.
Just as it was in the case of the war with the communist terrorists when urgency was vital so was it in the case of implementing the National Development Programmes. Operation Rooms were set up not only in the National Capital but also in the State Capitals as well as at District Headquarters. The progress of development projects was charted and kept up-to-date on maps in the Operation Rooms. Delays in implementation were quickly dealt with. Results had to be achieved within the shortest possible time.
To encourage development the country must be opened up and roads and bridges must be built for easy communications. In the five years 1960 - 1964 almost 2,000 miles of roads were built, opening up new areas and connecting existing villages. Large areas of land were opened up for agriculture. Land Development Schemes were initiated and by the end of the first decade 67 schemes with an area of about 170,000 acres of rubber and oil palm have been planted, and based upon the experience gained, work is already in progress on an area of 93,000 acres called the Jenka Triangle to settle 9,200 families.
The country was primarily engaged in producing rubber but with the drop in the price of this commodity the economy was threatened, consequently diversification had to be embarked upon speedily. Agriculture had to be diversified and industrialists encouraged to enter into manufacturing activities. Private enterprise was given incentives to start factories manufacturing import pioneer industries and the establishment of industrial estates near the large towns and suitable locations.
In this atmosphere of intense economic activity, Malaysia was born in September 1963. The formation of Malaysia was not looked upon with favor by some of her neighbours and consequently Malaysia had to face confrontation which lasted for a period of three years and it is only very recently that confrontation ended. During the period of confrontation Government efforts were concentrated to meet this new threat to her sovereignty but the equally vital need for continuing the development of the country was not lost sight of.
With Peace restored, the people are looking forward towards an era of growing prosperity. The First Malaysia Development Plan has been launched involving a total outlay of $10,500 million during a period of five years from 1966 to 1970. The First and Second Year Development Plans gave amenities of life to the people, such as roads, electricity, water-supplies, health centers, telecommunications, postal services and schools. The First Malaysia Plan is intended to encourage the people themselves to improve their standard of living by coordinating their own efforts.
Malaysia is a young but vigorous country. The educational system is geared for the purpose of giving every school-going child an opportunity to receive education until the age of 14. They are given the best education possible with opportunities for higher education in the colleges and in the University of Malaya.
Looking back again at the first decade of independence the striking thing about it is that it was a decade of remarkable progress during a time of turbulence when internal and external forces were attempting to destroy its very existence. Throughout the Emergency and throughout Confrontation there was parliamentary democracy in the country. In the end good prevailed over evil and the people can continue to lead a peaceful and prosperous life.
Throughout all these years right from the time when the first independence talks with the British Government were held in 1955 to the present day, the primary responsibility for guiding the destiny of this young nation lay with the leader of the Alliance Government, Tunku Abdul Rahman Putra Al-Haj and on his understanding and vision. The Tunku, as he is affectionately called, has the ability to weld together a multitude of people into a nation whose very diversity is a source of strength as each and everyone finds it his pleasant task to give his best.
Commemorative postage stamps of the 15 cents and 50 cents denominations will be issued on the 31st August, 1967 to mark the 10th Anniversary of Merdeka. Details of the stamps are as follows.
Size: Rectangular with the following dimensions perforation to perforation in sheets of 100:
Horizontal - 44 mm
Vertical - 28 mm
Printing Process: Photogravure
Designs: The design features the portraits of Their Majesties the past and the present Yang di-Pertuan Agong in profile and the National flower of Malaysia.
15 cents - The portraits in black; flower in red with green leaves on yellow background.
50 cents - The portraits in black; flower in red with green leaves on blue background.
Paper: P.T.M. watermarked white paper
Printed by: Harrison & Sons Ltd., London
Period of Sales: Six months from the date of issue or until stocks are exhausted whichever is earlier.
First Day Cover