MALAYSIA and SINGAPORE
HISTORY OF MALAYSIA
myMalaysiabooks shares with you the history of
Bone and artefacts discoveries at caves in
Sarawak and Perak confirm modern human habitation in the Malaysian
peninsular dates to 10,000 to 40,000 years ago.
Archaeological evidence shows that peninsular
Malaya inhabited for at least 6,000 to 8,000 years.
Early inhabitants of the Malay peninsular were mainly nomadic hunters,
farmers and fisherman.
Small Malayan kingdoms is said to
have flourished around the 2nd or 3rd century
AD, a time when Indian
traders, priests and Buddhist missionaries began travelling to the
region. The most significant evidence of a
Kingdom is found around Kedah Peak – at the
Malaysia. Kedah Peak (Gunung Jerai) served as the navigational point and a transit
centre for traders awaiting the changing of the monsoon winds. The
kingdom soon came under the influence of SriVijaya and Siam [Details in History of Kedah].
While Chinese and Indian products of silk and spices were traded,
the jungle and land provided the resource for trade by the locals.
The Malay peninsular was an international maritime centre and source
of gold and tin. Seafarers and settlers soon populated Malaya. Islam soon filtered into the region, brought mainly by Arab
and Indian merchants.
The importance of
Kedah waned with the
fame of Malacca (Melaka) – located at the narrowest tip of the Straits
of Malacca. This lured Europeans to the region and the Portuguese captured Malacca in 1511. Acehnese attacked and
exerted influenced on many of the Malay states. The Dutch and British
soon came to the region and
Siam controlled most of the northern states.
of Melaka and
History of Kedah
English East India Company took over
Penang Island from Kedah and occupied Singapore
Island off the southern tip of the Malay peninsula in 1819. The British
Penang and Singapore under an administrative entity, under the British Colonial
Office called the Straits Settlement. British officials began
intervening in the Malay Sultanates by the 1870s, exerting political
influence (mainly by force) through a system of British residents (or
Perak and Negeri Sembilan, called the Federated Malay
States, were under the rule of British residents who took orders from
the High Commissioner in Singapore, who in turn received orders from
the Colonial Office. The other peninsular states (Perlis,
Terengganu, previously under Siam/ Thailand) were known as
the Unfederated Malay States and had British advisors. British North
Borneo (Sabah) was a British Crown Colony under the rule of the
Sultanate of Sulu. The territory of
Sarawak became a fiefdom of the Brooke family.
Intervention into Malayan internal affairs without
understanding the culture resulted in the murder of the first British
resident to Perak [see history of Perak].
Britain ruled Malaya until 1941 when the Japanese invaded Malaya.
was invaded by the Japanese on 8 December 1941. The
Japanese regarded the Malays as liberated from British imperialist
rule which gained them some cooperation from the Malay civil service
and intellectuals. The Chinese however were regarded as enemies and
received brutal treatment from the Japanese.
of mainly Chinese Malayan, were killed in
Malaya and Singapore and Chinese schools were closed. This led to the
setting up of resistance group such as the Malayan Communist Party (MCP),
which was the backbone of the Malayan People’s Anti-Japanese Army (MPAJA),
which was assisted by the British so as to fight the Japanese.
Japanese occupied Malaya until 1945.
Popular support for independence grew after the Second World War when
the Japanese were defeated.
defeat of the Japanese, conflict also began when the MCP disagreed with British post-war
policy of a Malayan Federation, mainly because of British strategy of
Intense jungle war began, fought by the British,
Commonwealth and Malay forces against the Malayan Communist Party. The Emergency ended in 1960.
An independent, multi-racial Federation of Malaya was formed in
August, 1957 when Malaya
was granted independence from British rule. Tunku Abdul Rahman became
the first prime minister. The British colonies of Singapore, and
Sarawak & Sabah (or North Borneo)
joined the Federation to form Malaysia on September 16, 1963.
However, Singapore withdrew from the Federation on August 9, 1965, and
became an independent republic.
History of the States
Before the formation of the Federation of Malaya, the administration
of the 13 states of Malaysia were in the States. Learn more about
the states through the history of the small Kingdoms and
Sultanates of the Malaysian Peninsular.
Kedah - the oldest kingdom and sultanate in Malaysia
Malacca (Melaka) - historical city along the Malacca Strait
a sultanate that evolved from Kedah
of Penang - part of the Straits Settlement under British