ca. 1300 A Prince in
House of Srivijaya takes up residence on the Island of Singapore,
kingdom from which to control the Malacca Straits
1511 Portuguese defeat Malays at Malacca and extend their trading empire throughout the Indian Ocean
1641 Dutch take Malacca and hold it for 150 years
1824 Treaty cedes Malaya/Singapore to the British, and Sumatra/Java to the Dutch
Opening of Suez Canal brings about economic and social
and creates `Far East' =`Southeast Asia').
Opportunities in British empire attract Chinese from Hokien and Canton
First rubber plantation in British Malaya. Malaya's rubber output
exceeds that of Brazil. Chinese laborers
imported to clear more land for rubber. By 1920, 2.1 million acres were cleared, 4/5 of it British-owned.
Indian (Tamil) labor was imported to staff and run the plantations. In 1927, 120,000 Indians arrived; during
the 1930s, 76,000 Indians entered annually. Self-rule in India (1937) ended export of Indian labor to
1920-1942 In Dutch East Indies (Indonesia), the Balai
publishing house was established. Aim was to promote
literature in Malay language. Many successful writers were Sumatrans whose native language, Minangkabau,
is a dialect of Malay spoken in West Sumatra.
1928 Indonesian Youth Congress declares Malay to be the National Language, calling it Bahasa Indonesia
1933 Pujangga Baru Movement in Indonesia declares cultural independence from Dutch influence
British Malaya. Unlike Vietnam, the Philippines, and Indonesia,
1945 had no organized nationalist (anti-Japanese) movement
guerilla wars. Unlike communist movements in other SEA countries,
in Malaya the guerrillas
were overwhelmingly Chinese.
for all of Malaya except Singapore, which which remained a British Free
Port (like Hong
gains independence from Britain and joins new Federation of
The Federation included
Singapore, Sabah, Sarawak, and the nine traditional Malay states bonded into a Constitutional Monarchy.
The King of Malaysia is drawn from the sultanates of the nine traditional Malay States.
1963- Konfrontasi -
The Federation is opposed by Indonesia and the Philippines.
Indonesia lands troops
1966 in Sarawak Sarawak and the Mainland. The adventure ended by a more more serious crisis in Jakarta:
the attempted coup on 30 September 1965 (G-30-S).
1965 Tengku Abdul
Prime Minister of Malaysia, expels "the Chinese city" of Singapore from
Federation of Malaysia.
1969 Severe anti-Chinese race riots all over Malaysia.
the New Economic Policy aimed at making ethnic Malays economically
Chinese and Indian minorities. In 1972 Malays owned a mere 3% of the capital in the country.
The goal of the NEP was to have Malays own 30% by 1992.
1975- Measured in terms of
GNP, the overall economic health of Malaysia and Singapore, make them
1983 the leading developing nations in the world. Growth exceeds even Japan. However, plight of rural
poor still endemic in Malaysia.
1983 PM Mahathir
announces Look East Policy on the model of Japan (and Singapore) rather
on Western model.
1988 PM Mahatir
of leading `police state' by no less than Tengku Abdul Rahman, the
Malaysia, after Mahatir arrested hundreds of intellectuals (mostly Chinese). Ruling party (Umno) convicted
of election fraud. But so what? Mahatir rules on.
Reagan removes Singapore from the list of Third World countries. Local
outrage at loss of economic aid from the U.S.
1990s In Malaysia, Mahatir
rules on (and on and on ....). Islamic leaders push hard for
State like Iran.
PM tries to maintain balance between demands of religiousgroups and needs of a modern secular state.
1998 Anwar Ibrahim fired and arrested for alleged sodomy. For the first time in more than a decade, the
2000-2001 The economies in both Malaysia and Singapore
strong through most of the 1990s, in contrast to
Vietnam, Indonesia and the Philippines. The economic woes since 1997 proved Malaysia to be far sounder
than other SEA countries. However, political freedoms suffer a blow when Mahatir jailed his chief rival,
Anwar Ibrahim, on charges of sodomy and corruption. Many intellectuals condemned this as blatant act of a
dictator. Shahnon Achmad even wrote a novel "Shit" to express his outrage. But Anwar is still in jail, and
Mahatir still rules, on and on.
October 2003 Mahatir announces he will step down and
hand power over to his UMNO deputy. Before bowing out, he
holds an international Islamic conference in Kuala Lumpur in which he accuses Jews of conspiring to control
the world's banking system. This opinion elicits a sharp response from Israel.