VII. The Contemporary Period, 1945–2000 > F. South and Southeast Asia, 1945–2000 > 2. Southeast Asia, 1941–2000 > c. The Malay Archipelago and Peninsular Malaysia
  The Encyclopedia of World History.  2001.
(See 1943, July)
c. The Malay Archipelago and Peninsular Malaysia
1. Malaysia and Singapore
The Malay States had come under British rule or control in the 19th and early 20th centuries (See 1914, May 12). Singapore, founded in 1819, was a British crown colony and one of Britain's most important naval bases. As elsewhere in the region, the development of a nationalist movement was greatly accelerated by World War II (See 1954–69). In order to gain independence, an alliance was formed between the leaders of two groups: the Western-educated Malay leadership, drawn from the traditional elite and its fringes, and the leaders of a small group of Western-educated Chinese, who were primarily wealthy, Malaya-born businesspeople. An agreement was made between these two factions that, until the late 1960s, seemed to serve both of their interests: in exchange for the initial acceptance of Malay domination of political and administrative authority after independence, there would be noninterference in Chinese domination of economic activities.  1
By the late 1960s, racial riots erupted, stemming from tensions created by the Malays' lack of access to economic power; the Chinese had in fact accrued political power over time and now dominated both spheres.  2
1955, July 27
The first national elections in Malaya resulted in victory for the Alliance Party.  3
1956, Feb. 8
A British-Malayan agreement was signed in London, transferring to Malaya control of internal security and defense.  4
1957, Aug. 3
In preparation for Malayan independence, a conference of rulers elected Sir Abdul Rahman, ruler of the Negri Sembilan state, to be the first supreme head of the federation for a five-year term.  5
Aug. 15
The federal legislative council ratified the constitution of the federation of Malaya.  6
Aug. 31
The British protectorate ended, and Malaya became an independent member of the Commonwealth.  7
Oct. 7
Malaya became a member of the Colombo Plan (See Nov. 28).  8
Oct. 12
A British-Malayan treaty of mutual assistance and external defense was signed.  9
The Encyclopedia of World History, Sixth edition. Peter N. Stearns, general editor. Copyright © 2001 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Maps by Mary Reilly, copyright 2001 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved.