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16805736 Malaysia History

16805736 Malaysia History

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Published by: abdikarim70 on Feb 12, 2010
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With 1957's independence, a new series of difficult decisions lay ahead of Malaya,the first of which was to determine exactly what territories would be included in thenew state. In 1961, the term "Malaysia" came into being after Tunku convincedSingapore,Sabah, andSarawakto join Malaya in a federal union (Singapore later opted out of the union, peacefully, in 1965). Afraid that the union would interferewith his expansionistic plans, Indonesia's president Sukharno launched attacksagainst another immediate problem was the determination of a national identity.Malaysia was a mix of people frommany races and cultures, and uniting them undera common flag was not an easy enterprise. Because Malays represented themajority, the constitution gave them permanent spots in the government, madeIslam the national religion, and made Malay the national language; but the Chinesefirmly dominated business and trade, and most Malay were suffering economichardships. The government, controlled by the United Malay National Organization,passed the New Economic Policy, which attempted to increase economic opportunityfor the Malay by establishing various quotas in their favor. Unsurprisingly, manyChinese opposed the new arrangement and formed a significant opposition party. In1969, after the opposition party won a significant seats, riots swepts throughKualaLumpurand the country was placed in a state of emergency for two years. It was apainful moment in the young nation's history that most Malaysians prefer to forget.Malaysia in the last two decades, Malaysia has undergone tremendous growth andprosperity, and has arguably made significant progress in race relations. Manyattribute the country's success to the dynamic leadership of 
Prime MinisterMahathir bin Mohammed
, who led the country from 1981 through 2003.Borneo and on the peninsula, all of which were unsuccessful.
Cultures have been meeting and mixing inMalaysia since the very beginning of its history.More than fifteen hundred years ago a Malaykingdom in Bujang Valley welcomed traders fromChina and India. With the arrival of gold and silks,Buddhism and Hinduism also came to Malaysia. Athousand years later, Arab traders arrived inMalaccaand brought with them the principles andpractices of Islam. By the time the Portuguesearrived in Malaysia, the empire that theyencountered was more cosmopolitan than theirown.Malaysia's cultural mosaic is marked by manydifferent cultures, but several in particular havehad especially lasting influence on the country.Chief among these is the ancient Malay culture,and the cultures of Malaysia's two most prominenttrading partners throughout history--the Chinese,
and the Indians. These three groups are joined bya dizzying array of indigenous tribes, many of which live in the forests and coastal areas of Borneo. Although each of these cultures hasvigorously maintained its traditions andcommunity structures, they have also blendedtogether to create contemporary Malaysia'suniquely diverse heritage.Perhaps the easiest way to begin to understand the highly complex culturalinteraction which is Malaysia is to look at the open door policy maintained duringreligious festivals. Although Malaysia's different cultural traditions are frequentlymaintained by seemingly self-contained ethnic communities, all of Malaysia'scommunities open their doors to members of other cultures during a religiousfestival--to tourists as well as neighbors. Such inclusiveness is more than just a wayto break down cultural barriers and foster understanding. It is a positive celebrationof a tradition of tolerance that has for millennia formed the basis of Malaysia'sprogress.
The Malay are Malaysia's largest ethnic group, accounting for over half the populationand the national language. With the oldest indigenous peoples they form a group called
, which translates as "sons" or "princes of the soil." Almost all Malays areMuslims, though Islam here is less extreme than in the Middle East. Traditional Malayculture centers around the
, or village, though today one is just as likely to findMalays in the cities.
One example of the complexity with which Malaysia's immigrant populations havecontributed to the nation's culture as a whole is the history of Chinese immigrants.The first Chinese to settle in the straits, primarily in and around Malacca, graduallyadopted elements of Malaysian culture and intermarried with the Malaysiancommunity.Taking from:www.Malaysia.com.my21

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