Malaysia is a country in Asia. This nation is located in the region of South-East Asia. This country is just north of the Equator. It is south of the Tropic of Cancer. The country is hot all through the year.
The neighbours of Malaysia are Thailand, Indonesia and Singapore. Singapore is an island. At the nearest point it is only 500 metres from Malaysia. A bridge connects the two countries. Malaysia consists of Peninsular Malaysia (This is the area that borders Thailand) and the northern part of the island of Borneo.
Malays are not the original inhabitants of this land. There are some Oran Asli who are autochthonous. However, there are precious few of them. The Malays have lived here for centuries. The Malays are Mongoloid people. They have the same phenotype as Thais and Indonesians.
Centuries ago Arab traders came to this land. They proselytised for Islam. Hence Malays are all Muslims. Various kingdoms (sultanates) were founded. Each has a king (sultan) In the 16th century Dutch, Portuguese and British sailors arrived. These people purchased land and sometimes fought the Malays.
In the early 19th century the British started to rule Malaysia. In those days they called it Malaya. They made agreements with the sultans. The sultans ruled their own sultantes internally. They relied on the Britishers for foreign affairs and defence. British rule was a boon for Malaysia. The country was connected to the world economy. Modern science and engineering made life enormously better. Modern medicine saved countless lives.
The Cameron Highland are in Peninsular Malaysia. Plantations were established there growing tea, coffee and rubber.
India was then part of the British Empire. India had been trading with Malaysia for centuries. Under British rule some Indians chose to relocate to Malaysia. These Indians mostly hailed form the south-eastern state of Tamil Nadu.
China was in a state of turmoil through much of the 19th century. Near constant civil war and incursions by other countries reduced China to debility. Many Chinese decided to shift abroad. Chinese people voted with their feet and came to reside in British Malaysia. Japanese people also came to live in Malaysia. They were spies – part of a long term Japanese plan to prepare to annex the country.
In 1942 the Japanese invaded Malaysia. British, Australian and Indian troops defended the land. However, theirs was a losing battle. The Japanese moved very fast on bicycles. They had men hold up planks of wood as bridges over streams. The Japanese had a resounding victory. It was an ignominious British reverse.
Japanese rule was cruel and exploitative. Many civilians were slain by the Japanese Army. People were enslaved and worked to death on building projects. The Malayan People’s Anti Japanese Army resisted the occupation. The MPAJA was mostly communist.
In 1945 the Japanese surrendered. Normality was restored. However, the MPAJA was also anti British. They soon started an anti-British revolt. The MPAJA drew succour only from a segment of the Chinese minority.
Gerald Templer was the British general sent to quell the communists in Malaya. He introduced passes, protected villages and food rationing. He was assassinated but his plan worked.
In 1957 Malaysia became independent. The sultans take it in turns to rule for 5 years. There are 9 sultans. The sultan who is the ruler of the whole of Malaysia has the title ”Agong.”
Kuala Lumpur is the main capital of this country. Its name means ”Muddy Delta.” Can you guess which word is which? Most people can guess from the sound of the words. In Bahasa Malaysia the word ”Kuala” is ”delta” and ”Lumpur” is ”muddy.” The Parliament is here as is the residence of the Agong.
Putrajaya is the administrative capital of Malaysia. It was built in 1998 and houses the civil service. The states have different laws. Some of them have Shari law and alcohol is prohibited. It is permitted in Kuala Lumpur.
The Flag of Malaysia has thirteen red and white strips – one for each state. The ensign of the flag is blue with a yellow crescent moon and star. These emblems symbolise Islam. The flag is consciously modelled on that of the United States.
Most of the people live in Peninsular Malaysia. The Malays are about 60 per cent of the people. The rest are divided between the Chinese, the Indians, Oran Asli and others.
The language of Malaysia is Bahasa Malaysia. It is written in Latin letters. English also has official status.
The economy of this country is growing rapidly. Malaysia recently became a developed country. Malaysia Airlines is a major earner for the country. The nation has a good financial services sector. The country has manufacturing and industry. The currency is the Rupiah.
- On which continent is Malaysia in?
- Name three neighbours of Malaysia?
- Which country is connected by Malaysia by bridge?
- Which island is partly in Malaysia?
- What are the two capitals of Malaysia?
- Translate Kuala Lumpur.
- Draw the flag of Malaysia. Five marks.
- What is the currency of Malaysia?
- What are the two official languages?
- What are the three main ethnic groups? Three marks
- What are earners for this country?
- Which country invaded Malaysia in 1942?