Malaysia's History
Malaysia :: History

AD 1400 Srivijayan Prince Parameswara set up a trading base in the small fishing village of Malacca (aka Melaka in Malay) which became the leading trade centre in Southeast Asia

1511 Portuguese took control of the state of Malacca. The Malay sultan moved south to Johor
1641 The Dutch captured Malacca
1786 Colonel Francis Light, a British adventurer, set up a trading base in Penang (aka Pinang in Malay)
1824 Anglo-Dutch treaty signed, dividing the land between the two countries ... the British controlled Malacca, Singapore and Penang while the Dutch controlled Sumatra.

1826 Britain established the Straits Settlements which included Malacca, Singapore and Penang.
1840s Influx of Chinese tin miners to the western coast
1919 British colonial rule was set up throughout the peninsula
1941 Japanese invaded Malaya, including Sarawak and North Borneo and took control of Malaya and ruled until 1945

1948 After the war, the British returned and attempted to join their old colonies into a Malayan Union and give equal rights to citizens of all races. The Malays saw this attempt as a threat to their rights as indigenous people. Tension and fighting followed.

The states on the peninsula and Penang formed the Federation of Malaya, a partially independent territory under British protection

The Malays, Chinese and Indians joined forces to form an Alliance to fight for independence
1948-60 State of emergency to counter local communist insurgency.
1954 Large number of Communist guerillas were killed.
1957 On August 31, Federation of Malaya became independent of Britain with Tunku Abdul Rahman as prime minister.
1958 Many Communist guerillas surrendered and the remaining few retreated deep into the jungles.

1963 Singapore, Sabah and Sarawak joined the Federation; Malaya became Malaysia.
1965 Singapore withdrew from the Federation
1967 ASEAN (Association of Southeast Asian Nations) established by the governments of Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore and Thailand.
1969 Riots erupted in Kuala Lumpur between ethnic Malays and Chinese over the economic success of the latter. The government exercised emergency powers to restore order.
1970 Following Abdul Rahman's resignation, Tun Abdul Razak became prime minister and formed the political coalition, Barisan Nasional (National Front of BN).

1971 New Economic Policy (NEP) launched to improve specifically the economic condition of the Malays by increasing their share to 30% of the country's wealth.

Under the NEP, bumiputeras (ethnic Malays and other indigenous ethnic groups) receive preferential discounts on house purchases, special allocations in public shares and preferred status in the awarding of government contracts.
1974 Malaysia and China formalized relations, helping to reduce tensions between the government and Chinese-backed guerillas.
1976 Datuk Hussein Onn became Prime Minister
1977 Pan-Malaysian Islamic Party (PAS) was expelled from the BN coalition.
1981 Dr Mahathir bin Mohamed became Prime Minister who did much to develop Malaysia
1989 Communist Party of Malaysia signed peace accord to abandon its armed struggle to overthrow the government.
1990 Sarawak communist insurgents signed peace accord with government.

National Development Policy set out to make Malaysia fully industrialized by 2020
1993-94 Constitutional amendments reduced the power of the sultans; they were stripped of legal immunity and the head of state was prohibited from delaying legislation
1998 Kuala Lumpur became the first Asian city to host the Commonwealth Games

Mahathir fired Anwar, his deputy prime minister. Anwar was expelled from the political party, United Malays National Organization (UMNO) and charged with corruption and sexual misconduct.

Demonstrations, under the banner of "reformasi" (reform), ensued in support of Anwar.
2000 Anwar was found guilty of sodomy and sentenced to nine years in prison in addition to the six-year jail sentence given in 1999 for corruption.
2001 Government decided to proceed with construction of the huge Bakun hydroelectric power project in Sarawak.

Ethnic clashes between Malays and ethnic Indians
2002 In August, new laws against illegal immigrants came into effect, providing for whipping and prison terms ... prompting exodus of foreign workers.
2003 Abdullah bin Ahmad Badawi became Prime Minister on 31 October 2003 when Mahathir stepped down after 22 years in office).
2004 In March, PM Abdullah Badawi won landslide general election victory.

In September, Anwar was freed after the court overturned his sodomy conviction.
2007 In November, Indian demonstrators staged anti-government protest against racial discrimination; they feel marginalised in education, employment and business.
2008 In March, the ruling Barisan Nasional lost five out of 13 states as well as two-thirds majority in parliament ... winning only a simple majority of all seats in parliament. This is its worst result since 1969 when it last surrendered its two-thirds majority.

Abdullah Badawi was sworn for a second term as Malaysian prime minister. One month later, discord within UMNO appeared ... more than 500 UMNO members demanded Abdullah's resignation over the election results.

April 14 - A five-year ban on Anwar holding political office ended.

On May 19, Former PM Mahathir left UMNO in a shock move to "encourage" similar departures in an attempt to oust Abdullah from office.

On May 23, the International Court of Justice awarded the sovereignty of Middle Rocks (a maritime feature 0.6 nautical miles from Pedra Branca) to Malaysia in its 28-year territorial dispute with Singapore.

June 4 - Malaysia raised petrol and diesel prices by 41% and 63% respectively to rein in a ballooning subsidy, sparking widespread anger.

June 29 - Anwar, now de facto leader of opposition, is accused of sodomy by a former aide.

July 10 - Abdullah announced that he will retire by June 2010 and hand over power to his deputy Najib Razak.

August 26 - Anwar Ibrahim won the Permatang Pauh seat vacated by his wife, Dr Wan Azizah Ismail, by a landslide margin of 15,671 votes (more than his wife's majority of 13,388 in the March general election) - wining 66.6% of votes cast.
2009 April 3 - Najib Razak was sworn in as Malaysia's sixth prime minister following the planned resignation of Abdullah Ahmad Badawi.