During the late 18th and 19th centuries, Great Britain established colonies and protectorates in the area of current Malaysia; these were occupied by Japan from 1942 to 1945. In 1948, the British-ruled territories on the Malay Peninsula except Singapore formed the Federation of Malaya, which became independent in 1957. Malaysia was formed in 1963 when the former British colonies of Singapore, as well as Sabah and Sarawak on the northern coast of Borneo, joined the Federation. The first several years of the country’s independence were marred by a Communist insurgency, Indonesian confrontation with Malaysia, Philippine claims to Sabah, and Singapore’s departure in 1965. During the 22-year term of Prime Minister MAHATHIR bin Mohamad (1981-2003), Malaysia was successful in diversifying its economy from dependence on exports of raw materials to the development of manufacturing, services, and tourism. Prime Minister Mohamed NAJIB bin Abdul Razak (in office since April 2009) has continued these pro-business policies. And although he has introduced some civil reforms, corruption and ruling party BN-UMNO manipulation of the police, media, and judiciary has lead to a sharp and vocal increase in public challenges to their 56 years of political and economic control of the federal government.
Most Recent Malaysia Posts:
CSEAS invites audiences to a talk on the interpretation of ethnic relations through student engagement with Malaysian films. (on 2/10)
Listen to the smooth electronic pop beats from Malaysia’s Tenderfist, our featured artists this week.
Our bookshelf this week spotlights Hinduism in Southeast Asia as many countries throughout the region observe Deepavali or the Festival of Lights.