Cobbold Commission

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Report of the Commission of Enquiry, North Borneo and Sarawak, 1962
Created17 January 1962
Ratified21 June 1962
LocationThe National Archives,
Kew, Richmond,
Surrey TW9 4DU,
United Kingdom
Author(s)The Commission of Enquiry, North Borneo and Sarawak, 1961-1962
SignatoriesUnited Kingdom Lord Cobbold
Federation of Malaya Wong Pow Nee
Federation of Malaya Ghazali Shafie
United Kingdom Anthony Abell
United Kingdom David Watherston
PurposeThe formation of Malaysia, 1961–1963

The Cobbold Commission, was a Commission of Enquiry set up to determine whether the people of North Borneo (now Sabah) and Sarawak supported the proposal to create the Federation of Malaysia consisting of Malaya, Brunei, Singapore, North Borneo, and Sarawak.[1][2] It was also responsible for the subsequent drafting of the Constitution of Malaysia prior to the formation of Malaysia on 16 September 1963.[3] The Commission was headed by former Bank of England governor, Lord Cobbold.


The members.

Members of the Commission were:


The Commission released its findings, report and recommendations on 1 August 1962. It concluded that the formation of Malaysia should be implemented. However, Lord Cobbold also stressed that all parties enter the federation as equal partners.

However , Lord Cobbold concealed his personal secret letter to Mr Macmilliam on 21 June 1962 : " I have supported Malaysia in the report on the assumption that Singapore also joins in .... if Singapore were to drop out , a federation between Malaya and the Borneo territories without Singapore would have few attractions."[4]

The findings were summarised by Lord Cobbold as follows:

About one-third of the population of each territory strongly favours early realisation of Malaysia without too much concern about terms and conditions. Another third, many of them favourable to the Malaysia project, ask, with varying degrees of emphasis, for conditions and safeguards varying in nature and extent: the warmth of support among this category would be markedly influenced by a firm expression of opinion by Governments that the detailed arrangements eventually agreed upon are in the best interests of the territories. The remaining third is divided between those who insist on independence before Malaysia is considered and those who would strongly prefer to see British rule continue for some years to come. If the conditions and reservations which they have put forward could be substantially met, the second category referred to above would generally support the proposals. Moreover once a firm decision was taken quite a number of the third category would be likely to abandon their opposition and decide to make the best of a doubtful job. There will remain a hard core, vocal and politically active, which will oppose Malaysia on any terms unless it is preceded by independence and self-government: this hard core might amount to near 20 per cent of the population of Sarawak and somewhat less in North Borneo.

— Lord Cobbold, Cobbold Commission

Table of content[edit]

4. Recommendations
A—Recommendations on certain general matters
B—Recommendations by Sir Anthony Abell and Sir David Watherston
C—Recommendations by Dato Wong Pow Nee and Enche Mohammed Ghazali bin Shafie
D—Summary of Recommendations in Sections B and C, and Comments, by the Chairman
A. Itinerary
B. Census Abstract
C. Cardinal Principles of the rule of the English Rajah
D. Legal Meaning of the Term "Native"
E. North Borneo and Sarawak Governments Papers on Malaysia
F. "Memorandum on Malaysia" Submitted by the Malaysia Solidarity Consultative Committee
Map of the Borneo Territories

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Malaysia and the non-fulfilment of two agreements with Sabah and Sarawak - Tengku Razaleigh Hamzah". The Malaysian Insider. 26 September 2013. Archived from the original on 29 September 2013. Retrieved 12 July 2018.
  2. ^ "Call to raise it in p'ment". Daily Express. 28 September 2013. Retrieved 12 July 2018.
  3. ^ "No.10760: Agreement relating to Malaysia" (PDF). United Nations Treaty Collection. July 1963. Archived from the original (pdf) on 14 May 2011. Retrieved 29 July 2010.
  4. ^ 205722212 THE MAKING OF THE FEDERATION OF MALAYSIA BY AJ STOCKWELL PG 317 ARTICLE 119[verification needed]

External links[edit]