Malaysia Chronology Since 1965

Malaysia Chronology since 1965


The former British protectorate of Malaya gained independence in 1957. The federation of Malaysia, incorporating Singapore, Sarawak, and Sabah, was founded in 1963.

  • 1965 Singapore leaves federation, reducing Malaysian states to 13.
  • 1970 Malay–Chinese ethnic tension forces resignation of Prime Minister Tunku Abdul Rahman. New prime minister, Tun Abdul Razak, creates the BN coalition.
  • 1976 Death of Tun Abdul Razak.
  • 1976–1978 Guerrilla attacks by banned Communist Party of Malaya (CPM), based in southern Thailand.
  • 1977 Unrest in Kelantan following expulsion of its chief minister from Pan-Malaysian Islamic Party (PAS). National emergency declared. PAS expelled from BN.
  • 1978 Elections consolidate BN power. PAS marginalized. Government rejects plans for Chinese university.
  • 1978–1989 Unrestricted asylum given to Vietnamese refugees.
  • 1981 Mahathir Mohamed becomes prime minister.
  • 1982 General election returns BN with increased majority.
  • 1985 BN defeated by PBS in Sabah state elections.
  • 1986 PBS joins BN coalition. Dispute between Mahathir and his deputy, Dakuk Musa, triggers general election, won by BN.
  • 1987 Detention without trial of 106 politicians from all parties suspected of Chinese sympathies. Media censored.
  • 1989 Disaffected UMNO members join PAS. Screening of Vietnamese refugees introduced. CPM signs peace agreement with Malaysian and Thai governments.
  • 1990 General election. BN returned to power with reduced majority.
  • 1993 Sultans lose powers, including legal immunity.
  • 1995 BN wins landslide victory.
  • 1997 Major financial crisis ends decade of spectacular economic growth.
  • 1998–1999 Deputy Prime Minister Anwar Ibrahim dismissed from office. Launches Reformasi (Reform) movement. Found guilty of corruption, later convicted of sodomy: 15-year sentence. His wife, Wan Azizah, forms Keadilan (renamed PKR).
  • 1999 UMNO loses ground in general election.
  • 2002 Chinese university opened.
  • 2003 Mahathir steps down after 22 years: Abdullah Badawi succeeds.
  • 2004 BN wins landslide victory.

From “The Financial Times World Desk Reference” © Dorling Kindersley 2004


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