chapter  5
18 Pages

Multinational federation: The case of Malaysia

ByISMAIL BAKAR

The Federation of Malaysia is a union of 13 states: 11 states in peninsular Malaysia (Johor, Kedah, Kelantan, Malacca, Negeri Sembilan, Pahang, Penang, Perak, Perlis, Selangor and Terengganu) and two states, that is, Sabah and Sarawak, in the northern part of Borneo. In terms of geography, Sabah and Sarawak are separated by about 400 miles from peninsular Malaysia by the South China Sea. The present Federation of Malaysia is the successor to the Federation of Malaya 1948, which then comprised only the 11 states of peninsular Malaya. These were the original members of the federation when it was first created in 1948 and subsequently gained independence from the British in 1957. In 1963, the Federation of Malaysia was formed when Sabah, Sarawak and Singapore joined the Federation of Malaya. However, in 1965 Singapore was expelled from the federation to become an independent state, leaving the 13 members of the federation as it exists today.