The Making of Malaysia

The Malaysia of today is a masterpiece that took over 200 years of creation. It goes way back with the establishment of British stations at Penang (1786), Singapore (1819) and Melaka (1824) and the expansion of their influence across the vast heartland of the Peninsula.
In the older days it was spice that attracted the western expansionists, but in the 19th century it was tin - a metal from which grew an industry that was to rip-asunder the initial social fabric of multi-ethnicity and, ironically, helped mould a better today. Not much later into the colonial years, another industry came bouncing - rubber.

The demand for these two products was near frantic. It was a delirium spurred by the rapidly turning wheels of the Industrial Revolution in the West, that among others procreated that Godsend contraption we call automobiles, that ride on the elasticity of rubber (tyres!). So it was written that the British would ride upon the prosperity of this land.

The Chinese were brought-in to work the tin mines while the Indians laboured in the rubber estates. Between these feverish workings was the creation of transportation infrastructures in the likes of roads, railways and the makings of new towns such as nothing anyone could earlier envisage. On top of these, the British established a modern and centralised government to manage it all.

And so, by around 1920, the seeds of today's nation-state began to grow. The British were at the top and the major races placed into strata with marked social and economic divisions. Notwithstanding such arrangements, the immigrants made this country their home.

Soon nationalistic senses were nurtured culminating in Independence for the nation in 1957. It was a tumultous period for emancipation, what with the various events threatening (and they did) to change the world forever. Malaysia would not be spared. The Second World War, the interregnum caused by the Japanese Occupation, Indian nationalism, the Communist Revolution in Russia and China would in no time set the phases.

When the British returned following their humiliating retreat from Malaya during the war, they were confronted with a new sense of direction among their charges. So, under intense pressure a settlement was offered and Merdeka or independence would be given - no less.

Ever since, the nation has weathered days of trial and error - adopting a highly pragmatic form of government that has gained respect from the international community.