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Introduction: During the late 18th and 19th centuries, Great Britain established colonies and protectorates in the area of current Malaysia; these were occupied by Japan from 1942 to 1945. In 1948, the British-ruled territories on the Malay Peninsula formed the Federation of Malaya, which became independent in 1957. Malaysia was formed in 1963 when the former British colonies of Singapore and the East Malaysian states of Sabah and Sarawak on the northern coast of Borneo joined the Federation. The first several years of the country's history were marred by a Communist insurgency, Indonesian confrontation with Malaysia, Philippine claims to Sabah, and...

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Malaysia's Foreign Policy: The principles of national sovereignty and mutual respect for territorial integrity, mutual non-aggression, and non-interference in domestic affairs of other countries are central tenets of Malaysia's foreign policy. This is reflected in Malaysia's membership of the United Nations and prominent roles in organisations such as the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), the Organisation of the Islamic Conference (OIC) – which Malaysia chaired from 2003 to March 2008, and the Non-Aligned Movement (NAM) – which Malaysia chaired from 2003 to 2006.

Malaysia was one of ASEAN's five original members (founded in ...

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History: The early Buddhist Malay kingdom of Srivijaya, based at what is now Palembang, Sumatra, dominated much of the Malay peninsula from the 9th to the 13th centuries AD. The powerful Hindu kingdom of Majapahit, based on Java, gained control of the Malay peninsula in the 14th century. Conversion of the Malays to Islam, beginning in the early 14th century, accelerated with the rise of the state of ...

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International Relations: Malaysia is an active player on the world stage. Its main foreign policy focus is on ASEAN. Malaysia, the past chair of NAM and of the OIC, also sees itself as a leader in the Islamic and developing world. It has made a valuable contribution to UN Peacekeeping Forces in various countries including Lebanon, Bosnia, Angola, Kuwait, Western Sahara, Liberia and East Timor and as part of the Aceh Monitoring Mission working with the EU. Malaysia runs an active programme of technical assistance from which a number of countries now benefit. Malaysia has been generous in providing humanitarian assistance to those affected by a number of recent ...

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Overview: Malaysia has very modern transportation and telecommunications infrastructures, but their quality and availability vary geographically. In much of the country, mountainous terrain has limited transportation infrastructure development, and sufficient government funding to overcome such constraints only began to materialize in the 1980s. Prime Minister Abdullah Ahmad Badawi (elected in ...

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Area Handbook Series
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