SYNOPSIS OF MALAYSIAN AND SINGAPORE HISTORY

ca. 1300        A Prince in defeated House of Srivijaya takes up residence on the Island of Singapore, establishes a new
                      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

1869             Opening of Suez Canal brings about economic and  social revolution, and creates `Far East' =`Southeast Asia').
                     Opportunities in British empire attract Chinese from Hokien and Canton

1897             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
                     British Malaya.

1920-1942   In Dutch East Indies (Indonesia), the Balai Pustaka 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

1942-         Japanese occupy British Malaya.  Unlike Vietnam, the Philippines, and Indonesia, Malaya
1945           had no organized nationalist (anti-Japanese) movement

1948          Anti-communist guerilla wars.  Unlike communist movements in other SEA countries, in Malaya the guerrillas
                   were overwhelmingly Chinese.

1957           Independence for all of Malaya except Singapore, which which remained a British Free Port (like Hong
                    Kong).

1963           Singapore gains independence from Britain and joins new Federation of Malaysia.  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 Rahman, Prime Minister of Malaysia, expels "the Chinese city" of Singapore from the
                 Federation of Malaysia.

1969         Severe anti-Chinese race riots all over Malaysia.

1972         Malaysia initiates the New Economic Policy aimed at making ethnic Malays economically competitive with
                 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 among
1983          the leading developing nations in the world.  Growth exceeds even Japan.  However, plight of rural
                  poor still endemic in Malaysia.

1983         PM Mahathir (Malaysia) announces Look East Policy on the model of Japan (and Singapore) rather than
                 on Western model.

1988         PM Mahatir accused of leading `police state' by no less than Tengku Abdul Rahman, the first premier of
                 Malaysia, after Mahatir arrested hundreds of intellectuals (mostly Chinese).  Ruling party (Umno) convicted
                 of election fraud. But so what? Mahatir rules on.

1989         President Ronald Reagan removes Singapore from the list of Third World countries. Local press expresses
                 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 Islamic 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
                Malaysian regime headed by Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad is being rocked by a continuing wave of
                anti-government demonstrations and rallies.  Among literary voices, Shahnon Ahmad publishes a novel, Shit,
                which he claims in the Introduction:  "is a work of fiction that has no connection whatever with any person, living
                or dead."

2000-2001  The economies in both Malaysia and Singapore remained 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.