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sexy malaysian girlsWikipedia, the encyclopedia, says: “the history of Malaysia is a relatively recent offshoot of the history of the wider Malay-Indonesian world”. It is so because anthropologists and historians could see very little aspects culturally and linguistically, to distinguish today’s Malaysian territories from the lands of the Malay Archipelago. According to their research, today’s division of the Malay world into six different states-- Malaysia, Indonesia, Philippines, Singapore, Brunei and East Timor – is largely the result of external influences, like the Hindu India, the Islamic Middle East and Christian Europe (west), China and Japan (north-east). Besides being the most direct shipping route passing through the Strait of Malacca, Malaysia has naturally been a melting pot of trade routes and cultures. Thus, it has been found out that the geographical position of Malaysia has literally made it difficult for the Malay people to resist foreign influence and domination.

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If one analyses the history of Malaysia, he can see these successive phases before the final assertion of Malay independence. The domination of Hindu culture imported from India reached its peak in the great Srivijaya civilisation in Sumatra (from the 7th to the 14th centuries). The arrival of “Islam” in the 10th century, leading to the conversion of the Malay-Indonesian world, having a profound influence on the Malay people is also to be recognized. The intrusion of the European colonial powers and European domination: (i) Portuguese, (ii) Dutch and (iii) British, who established bases at Penang and Singapore. This triggered off the most revolutionary event in Malay history – the Anglo-Dutch treaty of 1824, which drew a frontier between British Malaya and the Netherlands East Indies (now Indonesia). Thus, the division of the Malay world was established permanently. Thus, the Malay society suffered the loss of political sovereignty to the British and of economic sovereignty to the Chinese.

1963 was a significant year for the Malay world, when Malaya became Malaysia with the acquisition of the British territories in North Borneo and Singapore.

Malaysia Economy

With a small and a relatively open economy, Malaysia is a country on the move. Earlier what had been a country dependent on agriculture and primary commodities has today grown to be an export-driven nation, thriving on high technology and knowledge-based and capital-intensive industries.

This drastic structural transformation of Malaysia's economy which has been quite spectacular in these forty years has been the result of pragmatism and a number of decisive steps taken by the Malaysian government. Largely depending on its wealth of mineral resources, fertile soils, agriculture and manufacturing, the Malaysian economy achieved average annual growth rates of about 7% during the last decade. And it has been possible because the government did not rest on its laurels, but took important steps instrumental to the country’s economic progress, like eradicating poverty with a controversial race-conscious program called New Economic Policy (NEP). First established in 1971, it was designed in particular to enhance the economic standing of ethnic Malays and other indigenous people, collectively known as “bumiputras”.

The results of such a revolutionary economic policy introduced by the government clearly shown, as the GDP doubled to reach an estimated RM219.4 billion (US$57.7 billion) in 2002. On the other hand, the country has shown tremendous potentials in its exports and imports which have almost quadrupled to reach RM349.6 billion (US$92.0 billion) and RM298.5 billion (US$78.6 billion) respectively.

Malaysia Culture/Religion

A multi-ethnic, multi-cultural and multilingual society, housing 65% Malays, 25% Chinese and 7% Indians, Malaysia is also home to the largest indigenous tribe in terms of numbers, the Iban of Sarawak (over 600,000). As an interesting matter-of-fact, the largest community in Malaysia, the Malays, are all Muslims since one has to be Muslim to be legally Malay under Malaysian law. However, there are also Christians and Hindus amongst them. Playing a dominant political role, the Muslims amongst the Malays are included in a group identified as “bumiputera”, speaking the native language “Bahasa Melayu”. However, despite “Bahasa Melayu” being the official language, when members of these different communities talk to each other, they generally speak English, recently reinstated as the language of instruction in higher education.

The Iban of Sarawak, interestingly, still live in traditional jungle villages in longhouses along the Rajang and Lupar rivers and their tributaries in Malaysia. Along with them, Malaysia also houses quite a large number of Orang Asli or aboriginal people, who comprise a number of different ethnic communities living in Peninsular Malaysia. Traditionally nomadic hunter-gatherers and agriculturists, many have been sedentarised and partially absorbed into modern Malaysia, though still remaining the poorest group in the country. Apart from the original nomadic tribes, there are the Chinese comprising of about a quarter of the population and also Indians who account for about 7% of the population.

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