chapter  63
2 Pages

Malaysia and Singapore

Mainland Malaya became independent in 1957, after a long period of British rule interrupted by the Japanese occupation of 1942-5. From the 1950s onwards, democratic elections produced governments based on a Malay-led alliance that included Chinese and Indian parties. The main opposition came from an Islamic party supported by Malays who resented the economic strength of the Chinese. A series of steps were taken to increase the Malays’ share of the economy, and to meet demands for the upholding of Muslim traditions; but the alliance-based governments resisted the more extreme demands of Islamic fundamentalists. Whether pro-Malay policies should continue has come into question as the economy as a whole and the Malay-controlled share have both increased.