The peninsula of Malaysia occupied a very important among the states of S. E. Asia.  This comprises of 11 states of Jonor, Pehang, Negeru, Sembian, Selangor, Perak, Kadah, Perlis, Kelanton, Trengganu, Penang & Melekah.  Malaysia is the world’s largest producer of rubber & tin. The Malayans proper (a southern branch of the mongoloid race) account for about 50 per cent of the population, the Chinese 37.5 per cent and the Indians about 11 percent.  The capital city is Kuala Lumpur.

Early history:       Malacca was captured by Portuguese in 1511 and Dutch in 1641.  Only by the end of the 18th century British traders assumed domination in this area under the leadership of Francis lite.  The British government in 1867 and thereafter they were called as “colonies of British government”.  From these coastal possessions of the (strait) settlements, the British extended their control & by 1909 the whole of peninsular came under their direct control. There was a British resident in every Malay state.

Malaysia under Britain:         Malaysia under Britain control enjoyed 3 different varieties of administration.  Such as crown colony, protected federated states & protected un-federated states.  The governments of these 3 powers were united in the person of the British governor, “who as high commissioner directed the federation government at KualaLampur.  British rule in Malaysia had a tremendous impact on social, economic ethic factors.  It modernize Malaya by introducing postal service telegraph & telephone system & railroads.  It took care to improve the standard of rubber, sugar, coconut & coffee cultivation by introducing scientific methods.  Piercy & law less suppressed.  Thus the British rule led to two important developments,

  • The growth of a plantation economy &
  • A change in the ethinic composition owing to the immigration of a large number of the Chinese& Indians in the country.

Nationalism In Malaya:         

Hindrance to Nationalism

  • The pluralistic society: The pluralistic nature of the Malaysia society that stood in the way of the growth of nationalism & political unity (Malaysians, Chinese, Indians & Europeans).  The alien elements regarded Malaysia as a place of temporary residence.  This feeling of lining in a foreign country persisted even along the Chinese& the Indians.
  • Economic inferiority of the Malaysians: While the Europeans occupied all the high government post & owned large plantation & tin mines, the Chinese operated smaller plantation & commercial establishment.  The Indians provided an influences number of lawyers, businessmen & plantation laborers.  The Malays contended themselves with farming & fishing & were mostly heavily in debt to the Indian & Chinese money lenders.  Thus the economic inferiority of the Malaysia hindered the growth of nationalism.
  • Religions differences: The Malaysians were Muslims, the Chinese were Buddhist, and The Indians were Hindu & Muslim.  The Europeans were Christians the Malaysians Moslems viewed with contempt the religious impurity of both Chinese & the Indians.  The Chinese on the other hand were proud of their cultural superiority.  Owing to the virtual absence of inter marriage among the different racial group, a homogeneous Malaysia culture could not emerge.
  • Divide & rule policy of the British: The imperialist British rulers persuade their usual policy of divide & rule in Malaysia.  They backed the Malays, the weakest element in the society the British held the highest positions & the Malaysians provided the official dominant.  The Malaysians looked to British as their protector against the threat of Chinese domination. Thus the indigenous Malays remained in different to politics.  While the Chinese& the Indians furnished as dynamic police force.  The police division of the country into three different administration structure did not help in fostering nationalist spirit.
  • The interest of the Chinese: The 1st modern police activities in Malaysia began among the Chinese.  The Chinese living in Malaysia maintained close relation with china & both KMT & CCP had their followings in the country.  But the Malaysians showed little dis-position to take active part in polities and the growth of a nationalist spirit was very slow among them up to the 2nd world war.

The Bitish regime

Under the British regime Malaya had developed in several fields.  All the internal evil forces were suppressed.  Projects for industrial development were implemented.  Introduction of railways accelerated the progress of industry.  All the tin mines which were under the control of Chinese were now brought under the British.  Modernization of agricultural products, rubber and coffee were introduced.  Malaya attained the first rank in the production of rubber and tin in the whole world.

The society consisted of four main groups of people.  They were the native Malayans, Chinese, Indians and Europeans.  But only the Malayans considered Malaya as their motherland.  90 per cent of the Chinese were either traders or industrialists.  They controlled the money circulation and the economy of Malaya.  Indians had only profiteering motive.  Under such circumstances there was no chance of the growth of Malay nationalism.

The minority condition of Malayans was fully exploited by the English who proclaimed that they alone were responsible protectors to the Malayans.

Chinese Inspiration:               The Chinese in Malaya wanted to emulate the political parties in their motherland china.  Kuomintang and Chinese communist party became the model for the Malay Chinese.

Japanese Occupation:            In the course of the Second World War, Japan occupied Malaya and suppressed the Chinese there.  Hence Chinese opposed them.  British people instigated such Chinese with money and armaments.  But after the end of the Second World War, the same Chinese guerillas turned their guns against the British.

Azad Hind: Simultaneously the Indians in Malaya were supporting the Azad hind movement of Netaji.  This movement was aimed against the British government.  Hence Chinese and Malay Indians under Netaji called themselves to be the warriors of Malay liberation.  They founded Malay national movement on the model of Indonesians and this was supported by the Japanese too.

Moslems revival & the 1st world war:   The 1st expression of Indigenous nationalism could be discerned immediately after the 1st world war.  It coincided with the movement for the (Moslem) Muslim religion revival which spread over among the Muslims living in different countries of Asia & Africa.  Unfortunately after the deposition of the caliph, the Malays lost interest in pan-Islamism and from about 1926 their police attitude became more & more secularist.

Effects of the 2nd world war:            The Japanese conquest of Malay in the early months of 1942 had a tremendous impact on the country.  The Chinese with secrete British help started resisting the Japanese expansion in Malaysia.  But the Malaysians cooperated with the Japanese whole heartedly.  The Japanese treated the Indian community leniently and assisted in organizing an Indian army in the S.E. Asia.  The arrival of Nethaji Bose amongst them greatly inspired the Indians livings in Malaysia.  The Indian community in Malaya began to feel a sense of confidence & importance that they had not felt before.  The Japanese, who had begun their rule with bright promises.  Soon started to exploit the country ruthlessly.  This brought disillusion among the Malaysians as well Japan’s misrule created a wider audience for those anxious to preach, the doctrine of self-determination.

Post war developments:        The British were unable to assess properly the changes that had occurred during the war and the Japanese occupation.  The British re-entered Malaysia in September 1945 to oust the Japanese out of Malaysia & to re-establish their control over the peninsula.  They announced in Oct. 1945 the establishment of a Malayan.  Union comprising the 9 protected states & all of the former crown colony except Singapore.  But this was opposed by the western educated young mass of Malaysia.  They organized UMNO (united Malayan national organization) to oppose the degradation of the position of the sultans.  Another Anti British organization called PUTERA (pro Indonesian Malaya nationalist organization) was also formed which aimed at independent Malaya composed of both the Malayan union & Singapore.  The communist of Malaysia organized a Malaya national army with the aim of establishing an independent Malayan people’s democratic republic.

New federation:             The British dropped the original plan & established a federation of Malaysia in Feb. 1948, maintaining the separate entity of Singapore.  The communist gathered greater momentum by now.  They killed the high commissioner of British in Oct. 1951.  The New High Commissioner General Sir. Gerald Templer (1952) started a vigorous campaign against the communist.  It took more than 5 years of bitter & expensive fighting to subdue the communist uprising.

Independence:    realizing that it would not be possible to keep Malaya under British rule for long, British proceeded towards giving Malaya full independence.  The UMNO & the Malayan Chinese association sent a joint delegation in London in 1954, to allow the native officials to stand for election.  In the elections, held in July 1955 Tengku (prince) AbdulRehman leader of the UMNO was elected as the chief minister of the new federation of Malaysia.  He soon pressed for constitutional revision (to abolish the VETO powers of the British high commissioner) realizing the gravity of the situation, the British decided in January. 1956 (London conference) that self-government &full independence would be given to Malaya in 1957.  Thus by the end of 1957 Malaya achieved her full independence.  REID commission was constituted to draft the constitution for an independent Malaya.  In the same year Singapore became a self-governing colony of Britain.

Foreign policy:   independent Malaya proceeded towards prosperity by the able guidance &fostering care of TengkuAbdulRehaman.  In 1961 he proposed for the establishment of a federation of Malaysia that would include besides Malaya & Singapore, the British protected 3 territories of Sahah, Sarawak & Borneo.  Indonesia &Phillipines also raised claims over north Borneo.  In 1963 it was decided that the federation of Malaya would be linked up with the plans for a larger Malayan union of the 3 countries.

In the meantime the UN commission was appointed to ascertain in the views of the people of shah & Sarawak it came to the conclusion the majority of the peoples of the 2 territories over in favour of the merger.  After this the federation of Malaysia was established on 16thsep. 1963.  Indonesian & the Phillipino governments refused to accept the verdict of the UN commission & so the relationship between those countries & Malaya were severed.  In 1965 the Philippines restored their diplomatic relations with Malaysia.  After the ouster of president Sukarno.  The relationship with Indonesia was improved.

In the meantime relationship between Malaysia & Singapore got strained.  After boldly riots between MalayMuslims&Chinese in Singapore, the Malay leaders decided that the 2 states should dissolve the union.  In Aug. 1967, Malaya &Singapore together with Thailand, Indonesia &Philippines established.  ASEAN in Bangkok, there after the relationship of Malaya&Singapore& Indonesia became guardian.  The withdrawal of British troops from this area further improved their relationship.  They formulated joint defense plan together with Australia &Newzeland.  Yet both Malaysia & Singapore have tried to follow a policy of non-alignment with considerable success.

In genera the Malayan’s followed a peaceful policy.  She became the member of the UN to engage herself to promote peace in the world.  The government of Malaysia followed the peaceful principles of Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru & has since being the 1st friend of India.


Singapore is a small island with some 54 outlying inlets situated at the southern top of the Malaysian peninsula.  In the mid of the 20th century along with Malaya, Singapore also was brought under the British control, but enjoyed the special status of remaining as a crown colony.  It attained full internal self-government in 1959.  In 1963, it joined Malaya, Sarmak&Sabah in the federation of Malaysia.  Tensions between the Malayans, dominant in the federation & ethnic Chinese, dominant in Singapore led to an agreement under which Singapore became a separate nation on Aug. 9, 1965.

The country is an enter port for Malaysia & other south East Asian countries. It is one of the world’s largest ports.  The chief exports are rubber & tin.  It is the largest oil refining center in Asia.  It is on track to become by 2000.  A push button electronic city or officially & intelligent island.

Under the government IT 2000 plan (Information Technology) all computers are virtually will be interconnected with every home, office, school & factory.  One in four Singapore households already owns a computer.  In 1996 Singapore will launch an electronic road pricing system.

United Malay National Organization (UMNO):          Malayans who were educated in the foreign countries observed their Nationalist spirit.  They wanted to establish such national movements.  They established united Malay national organization in 1946 with the aim of obtaining freedom for Malaya.  They demanded the Englishmen to quit Malaya.

Federation of Malaya:             The British government thought that malayans could be pacified with some political reforms.  They established Ferderation of Malaya in 1948 consisting of all Malayan states except Singapore.  The communists proved to be stumbling block to the functioning of Malayan federation.  They established Malaysian liberation army with the aim of obtaining freedom from English.

Tunku Abdul Rahman:            Under such circumstances emerge4d the morning star of Malaya namely TunkuAbdulRahman.  He appealed to the people to be united.  He inspired the people to obtain the feeling of oneness, one nation, one people, one race and one voice.  He said that all people who live in Malaya were malayans.  As a result the enmity, envy, dispute and competition among the people soon vanished.

Rahman founded “the alliance” party which integrated all sections of people in Malaya.  This party became very popular among all the people. The activities of “the alliance party” gave stunning blow to the Britishers.  Hence they appointed Malcolm Macdonald who was the High Commissioner and Military General of the south EastAsia to study and solve the problem of malayans.  The Malayan British Commission passed a resolution in 1954.  On that basis, elections were held in 1955 in which alliance party was the majority.  Abdul Rahman demanded the freedom of Malaya.   Malaya became independent on 31 august 1957.  It was a member of British Common Wealth and also U.N.O. Malaya was ruled under the able premiership of Tunku Abdul Rahman till 1970.  Singapore alone was left out under the British control.

Malaysian Federation:                       Tunku Abdul Rahman obsessed with the fear of the communists and the revolution in china, decided to form a federation by admitting North Borneo, Sarvak and Singapore.  The Malaysian federation was formed on 31st august 1963.  Soon riots took place.  On the basis of their race Lee Kuna Yew wanted to start a political movement on behalf of Chinese.  Hence Singapore was driven out from the federation in august 1965.

By 1970, Malaysia was under the grip of communal riots.  The Chinese business magnates and the favourable election results for Chinese, made them to meddle with the government.  As a result Tunku Abdul Rahman had to relinquish his office of the premier.

Abdul Razack succeeded Rahman by forming a national front coalition government.  Repack died in 1976 and Hussain became the premier.  In this period, the communist guerillas gave much trouble to the government.  Malaysia concluded a military pact with Thailand.  These two countries together attacked the guerillas.  By 1981, doctor Mahadhir became the premier.  His government was rocked by corruption charges.  Yet he was once again elected.  The internal dissension in the party brought about split in the party.

Keywords: United Malay National Organization (UMNO), Malaysia, Singapore,Tunku Abdul Rahman, Abdul Razack