Location Of Malaysia
Political Map of Maylaysia
• Malaya became independent in 1957. It became Malaysia
in 1961 when it incorporated Sarawak, Sabah and
Singapore. Singapore seceded peacefully in 1965.
• Was a colony of Portugal,
Netherlands and Britain.
• Is a constitutional
composed of 13 states.
• Population of 24.4
Million; 58% Malay, 26%
Chinese & 7% Indian.
• All Malays are Muslim.
• Is the site of the Petrona
Towers and Tunku Abdul
Malacca and Islam
• Malacca was founded in 1402
by Parameshwara, prince of
• Malacca competed for ships
with other SEAsian states.
Malacca sent tribute to the
Thailand and China. Converting
to Islam improved relations
with Sumatra plus Indian and
• Trade led to Malacca becoming
a center for the spread of Islam.
• Tun Perak (1456-98) made
Malacca a Malayan empire.
Trade at Malacca
• Malacca was an ideal location, half way along the
sea route between India and China.
• As an entrepot, it became a center for trade:
– Silk and porcelain from China.
– Textiles from Gujarat and Coromandel in India.
– Camphor from Bornea.
– Sandlewood from Timor
– Nutmeg, mace, & cloves from the Moluccas.
– Gold & pepper from Sumatra.
– Tin from Western Malaya.
• Alfonso De Albuquerque
conquered Malacca in 1511 for
Portugal. It remained Portuguese
for 130 years.
• Trade brought great riches.
• Saint Francis Xavier visited
during 1545-49. Found it to be a
debaucherous cesspool of vice.
• Malacca fell to the Dutch in
1641. In 1826, it became a
Christ Church (Dutch)
British Entry Into Malaya
• The British withdrew from competition with the
Dutch following the Ambon Massacre of 1623.
• The Dutch (allied with the Sultan of Jehore)
gained control of Malacca from the Portuguese in
1641, but did little with it. The principal Dutch
interest was to direct trade to Batavia (Jakarta).
• The British first gained a foothold in Malaya in
1786 when the Sultan of Kedah granted the island
of Penang to the East India Company.
The Straights Settlement
• The British took control of
Malacca from the Dutch
under the Anglo-Dutch
Treaty of 1824. The treaty
was a response to the
establishment of Singapore
as a highly successful port.
• The fishing village of
Singapore was acquired from
the Sultan of Johore in 1819
by Sir Thomas Stanford
Raffles. Thomas Stanford Raffles
• Who founded Malacca?
• What is ideal about Malacca's location?
• Who conquered Malacca for the Portuguese?
• Which famous Jesuit missionary visited Malacca?
• Why did the British withdraw from the spice trade
competition after 1623? What did they ultimately
receive as compensation?
• What prompted the Anglo-Dutch Treaty of 1824?
• The acquisition of what territories in 1961 led to
Malaya becoming Malaysia?
• Malaysia is considered to be constitutional _____.
British Crown Colony
• Penang, Malacca and Singapore became the the
Straits Settlement crown colony in 1826, but was
administered from Calcutta by the East India
Company until 1867.
• The East India Company had little interest
expending its resources in direct control of Malay
• It didn’t even object when James Brooke acquired
as a private kingdom in Sarawak in 1846.
The Need for Intervention
• Between 1871 and 1873 their was a period
political instability in the Malay states.
– Malay states were in constant turmoil over dynastic
disputes and conflicts between Chinese secret societies.
A civil war broke out between local chiefs backed by
Chinese societies in Selangor.
– Demand for tin suddenly increased with the U.S. Civil
War and the opening of U.S. west.
– Business relations with Malay states became unreliable
in a time increasing competition for tin by other
countries due to the opening of the Suez Canal.
– Investment in business ventures such as telegraph lines
was unlikely without assurance of British protection
Demands for Intervention
• Straits Settlement Association established in
London to lobby for intervention in 1868.
• In 1873-74, British merchants pressured the
– Chinese merchants prompted to petition the British to
– Seymour Clark of Selangor Tin writes colonial office
expressing concern that Malay states may seek German
– W.H.M. Reed (Straits Settlement Ass.) obtains letters
from Malay chiefs requesting British intervention.
• The Residency System is established in Perak in
1874. The sultan agrees to accept a resident
whose advice must be followed in all matters,
particularly administration and revenue collection,
other than religion and custom. In return, the
British will protect the state against internal and
• Within a month, Selangor and Negri Sembilan
accept residents. In 1888, Pahang followed suit.
The Perak War
• In 1875, the Perak Resident, J.W.W. Birch was
murdered. Several issues were involved.
– Governor William Jervois proposed that advisors be
replaced by Queen’s Commissioners. The
Commissioners would govern in the sultan’s name.
Birch was required to obtain the sultan’s consent.
– Conflict over debt slavery. Birch allowed his residence
to become a sanctuary for runaway slaves, mostly
women. The sultan imagined that he was stealing the
slaves to provide mistresses for his police.
• As punishment, three chiefs were executed and the
Perak War Monuments
J.W.W Birch on
the spot where he
was killed in Pasir
Salak. Built: 1900.
died in the
• What territories composed the Straits Settlements?
• James Brooke acquired a private kingdom in what
• Why were British businessmen interested in obtaining
direct British intervention in Malaya?
• What finally led to the Colonial Office agreeing to
• To what did a ruler agree when receiving a Resident? What
did he gain in return?
• What were the two principal sources of disagreement that
led to the murder of J.W.W. Birch and the Perak War?
Federated Malay States
• In 1895, Perak, Selangor, Penang and Negri Sembilan
were merged into the Federated Malay States (FMS)
with a Resident General in Kuala Lumpur.
• In practice, the FMS tended to be more unitary than
federal with the Resident General issuing instructions
directly to Residents and departmental heads doing
likewise to their state counterparts.
• Periodic meetings of all Malay rulers and residents
provided a limited deliberative and advisory function.
Extension of British Rule
Pre World War II
• Malaya, FMS and the Straits Settlements enjoyed
prosperity and relative peace prior to WW II.
• The three major ethnic groups existed in
superficial harmony: Malay
(Bumiputras), Chinese and Indians. However, the
number of Chinese and Indian immigrants and
their share of the economy increased greatly.
• The British built a major naval base in Singapore
in 1938 with the principal goal of defending India
World War II
• British preparations for war in Malaya were sadly
inadequate. The naval base at Singapore (fortified
against attack by sea) fell in humiliation to a
Japanese land campaign.
• The Chinese in Malaya were forced to take sides
between the Communist and the KMT.
• The Chinese Communist in Malaya began an anti-
Japanese guerrilla war.
• The British supported Communist guerrillas thru
Force 136 which provided training and supplies.
• In 1945, the British proposed the Malay Union.
– The union was to be composed of the nine Malay states
plus Malacca and Penang, but not Singapore.
– The nine Malay Sultans would surrender sovereignty to
the union. Laws would no longer require their
– There would be common citizenship for Malays,
Chinese and Indians born in Malaya or who had been
residents for ten years.
• A massive protest movement led to the formation
of the United Malay National Organization
Federation of Malaya
• The strong reaction to the Malay Union led
to a new structure in 1948, the Federation of
– Retrocession of sovereignty to the Malay states.
– Integration of the states and Malacca and
Penang (but not Singapore) into the new
– Citizenship rights restricted to Malays, only.
• Which territories composed the Federated Malay States?
• Which ethnic groups increased in number and economic
power prior to WW II?
• During WW II, what group did British Force 136 support?
• The creation of the Malay Union deprived Sultans of
_______ and granted Chinese and Indians full ________.
• The United Malay National Organization (UMNO) was a
reaction to _______.
• The Federation of Malaya restored _________ to the
Sultans and limited citizenship to ________.
• The British were withdrawing from everything
east of Suez. India and Burma had already been
granted independence. Malaya was to be next.
• Chinese Communist insurgency began in 1948
leading to a declared state of emergency that
lasted until 1960. The Chinese saw the new
federation as imperiling their legal status. The
Chinese revolution provided the model of
insurgency and guerrilla warfare.
• The vehicle was the Malayan Communist Party
• The British success in combating the insurgency
was the product of :
– The guerrillas never exceeded 10,000 and could claim
the support of no more than 15-20% of Chinese
– The guerrillas were easily distinguished racially.
– The Malayan Chinese Association (MCA) was formed
as political solution to unrest.
– Insurgents received little outside support.
– The Briggs Plan of 600 new villages and deportation of
10,000 Chinese back to China.
• Malaya granted
independence in 1957,
although the emergency
last until 1960.
• Tunku Abdul Rahman was
the first P.M. He was an
English educated prince
from Kedah. He served
• He sought to give special
attention to Malays to
makeup for past neglect.
Tunku Abdul Rahman
• The key feature of the bargain was that the
Chinese would be allowed to prevail in the
economic sector, but the Malays would control the
• The Malays received constitutional advantages:
- Head of state (king) would be a Malay sultan.
- Malay would be the official language
- Islam would be the official religion
- Malays would receive preferences in land acquisition,
educational assistance and civil service employment.
Federation of Malaysia 1963
• An enlarged Malaysia was formed in 1963 from
Malaya, Singapore, Sarawak and Sabah.
– The British sponsored this arrangement to improve the
viability of the state. Singapore, Sarawak and Sabah
were all British dependencies.
– Sarawak and Sabah would balance the largely Chinese
population of Singapore, thus not threatening the
– Singapore remained part of the federation for only two
A Malaysian Malaysia
• Tunku Abdul Rahman
expelled Singapore from
Malyasia in 1965 after Lee
Kuan Yew called for a
Malaysian Malaysia, i.,e.,
equal participation by all
groups. Tunku Abdul
Rahman sought a Malayan
• The wish by minority groups
for equality continued and
led to the 1969 riots. Lee Kuan Yew
• Abdul Rahman’s Alliance Party lost 23 seats in
the parliament when the opposition parties won a
51.5 % majority. A victory celebration by Anti-
Alliance forces in Kuala Lumpur led to rioting.
• Mob violence raged for four days.
• The King proclaimed a state of
emergency, parliament was disbanded, civil
liberties curtailed and the National Operations
Council (NOC) under Deputy P.M. Tun Abdul
Razak granted total authority for 21 months.
• Sedition Acts were passed prohibiting discussion
of “sensitive issues.
Greater Economic Opportunity
• Tun Abdul Razak followed
Tunku Abdul Rahman as P.M.
• Believed ethnic tension was
due to insufficient economic
opportunities for Malays.
• Set the New Economic Policy
(NEP) in motion in 1971.
• Granted special privileges to
Malays: business ownership,
tax breaks, investment
incentives & employment
quotas. Tun Abdul Razak
“Look East” Policy
• Mahatir served as P.M. from
1981 to 2003.
• He was the first P.M. not to be
a royal and not educated in the
U.K. He’s a medical doctor.
• He downgraded relations with
England and the
Commonwealth in favor of
Asia and ASEAN.
• Established the Bumiputra
Dr.Mahatir bin Mohamad Investment Foundation and
initiated “dawn raids” on
London Stock Exchange.
• How Mahatir retained power:
– Operation Lallang (1987)
arrested of 119 opposition
leaders and closed three
– Eliminated judicial review of
security and the operation of
political parties in 1988.
– Accused the Jews of causing Deputy Anwar Ibrahim
the currency crises of 1997. spent six years in jail on
– Charged Awar Ibrahim with dubious charges.
corruption and sodomy in 1998.
Current Prime Minister
• Received a B.A. in Islamic
Studies. He includes “bin Haji” in
his full name.
• His backing of “Team B” in the
UMNO split led to his loosing his
post as Mahatir’s Minister of
• Was considered fully rehabilitated
when he was appointed to replace
Anwar Ibrahim as Mahatir’s
Deputy P.M. for Home Affairs.
• Mahatir has been critical of his
Abdullah Ahmad Badawi performance on the Proton and
the bridge to Singapore.
• Q1. What was the source of Chinese discontent that led to
• A1. The feared lose of legal status.
• Q2. The British success in combating the insurgency was
based on what five factors?
• A2. (1). Less than 20% of Chinese population supported
the insurgents. (2). Guerrillas easily distinguished. (3).
MCA offered a political solution. (4). The insurgents
received little outside support. (5). The Briggs Plan.
• Q3. Who was the first P.M. of the Federation of Malaysia?
• A3. Tunku Abdul Rahman.
• Q4. What was the “Bargain”?
• A4. The Chinese would prevail economically; the
Malays would prevail politically.
• Q5. What was the purpose of the enlarged
Federation of Malaysia?
• A5. To give Singapore, Sarawak and Sabah a
secure home as Britain pulled out.
• Q6. Why was Singapore expelled from the
Federation of Malaysia?
• A6. Lee Kuan Yew threatened the bargain by
demanding a Malaysian Malaysia.
And More Questions
• Q7. What was the cause of the 1969 Riots?
• A7. An Anti-Alliance celebration of the UMNO’s
loss of its majority in the parliament.
• Q8. What was the “Look East” policy?
• A8. Mahatir’s decision to look to East Asia in the
future for models of success.
• Q9. What were the “Dawn Raids” on the London
Stock Exchange about?
• A9. Regaining national control of companies such
as Guthrie that owned huge plantations and other
assets in Malaysia.
And Still More Questions
• Q10. Why did Mahatir charge Anwar Ibrahim
with sodomy and corruption?
• A10. He perceived that Anwar was challenging his
• Q11. Why did Mahatir amend the constitution to
eliminate judicial review of security matters and
the operation of political parties.
• A11. It was judicial review of UMNO registration
that led to the party being deregistered. This
forced a scramble to reregister 50%+ to gain
control of the party’s assets.
Malaysian Political Parties
• Two coalitions have ruled Malaysia:
– The Alliance (prior to 1969) composed of
• UMNO, MCA & MIC
– The National Front (Barisan Nasional) (since
• UMNO plus eleven including PAS & DAP.
• Malaysia's P.M.s have all come from the
United Malayas National Organization.
• The UMNO survived the
1988 split and the APU
(Islamist & Chinese)
challenge of 1990.
• The UMNO has access to
almost unlimited funds. It
has become a huge
holding assets in numerous
• Nine Malay states have ruling sultans.
• The King (Yang diPertuan Agong) is elected by
and from among the nine for five years.
• The Kings powers include ceremony, religious
duties, appointments and delay of legislation.
• In 1993, Mahatir was able to gain passage of
legislation placing the sultans under the law.
• The Attorney Generals consent is required to bring
charges against a sultan and special court must be
• The structure of Malaysia’s legislature is based on
the British Westminster system.
– The P.M. must be a member of the lower house and
command majority support.
– Lower house is composed of 219 members of which
199 seats are held by the BN (National Front).
– The upper house is composed of 70 members, 26
appointed by state legislatures and 44 appointed by the
king on recommendation of the P.M.
– The upper house is elected for 6 years; the lower house
is elected for 5 years unless parliament is dissolved
• Military. Malaysia has maintained only a
minimal national force. Instead, it has relied on the
defense arrangements with British and Anglo-
Malayan Defense Agreement (Singapore, Great
Britain, Australia, and New Zealand).
• Women. Consistent with Islamic beliefs, women
only play a very minor role in public affairs. There
are a growing number of professional women and
women have formed auxiliaries to political parties
which give them some voice.
• Malaysia is considered to be only semi-democratic
due to the limitations on civil liberties such as the
Official Secrets Act, Internal Securities Act and
Sedition Act which prohibit all discussion of
• The key issue is what are the rights of Malays in a
• The success of the Malaysian economy has
mitigated demands for equality.
• The standard of living has improved immensely
for the average person since 1957. From close to
Zero, access to piped water, electricity and TV are
all 100%. The Malay poverty level is < 17%.
• The New Economic Plan (NEP) of 1971 was a 20
year plan to eliminate prosperity as a function of
race. It sought rapid growth in the Malay sector
without weakening Chinese enterprise.
• The NEP also sought to increase the Malay share
of capital ownership to 30%, reduce foreign share
to 30% from 63% and allow a 40% Chinese share.
Economic Development (Cont’d)
• Malaysia’s economy is a market oriented, export
economy with state ownership of heavy industry,
only. Growth rate of GNP has been about 8% in
the 1980s & 90s.
• Malaysia is the world’s largest exporter of
semiconductors, one of the world’s largest
exporters of single-unit air conditioners, textiles
• Malaysia is considered both a Tiger and a NIC.
• The Malaysians must import plantation labor from
Indonesia and Sri Lanka.
• Q1. Name the two political party coalitions that
have ruled Malaysia since 1957.
• A1. The Alliance and the National Front.
• Q2. Does the UMNO suffer from lack of funds?
• A2. No. It has large investments in various
• Q3. How is the King of Malaysia elected?
• A3. By and from among the nine Sultans.
• Q4. The Malaysian upper house (senate) is
composed of 70 members. How are they selected?
• A4. State legislatures appoint 26; the king
• Q5. Why is Malaysia considered to be only semi-
• A5. The lack of civil liberties to discuss sensitive
• Q6. Under the NEP, what was the goal for the
Malay capital share of the economy?
• A6. 30%. Only 20% has been achieved.
Still More Questions
• Q7. What is the disadvantage of being
labeled a newly industrialized country
• A7. Loss of preferential import tariffs.