The Federation of Malay became independent from British colonial rule in 1957 and Sabah, Sarawak, as well as Singapore, merged with Malaysia in 1963. Singapore, however, separated itself from the country in 1965. From a shaky beginning, Malaysia gradually became a prosperous nation with a robust manufacturing industry that includes automobile companies, oil exports, an impressive literacy rate, little desperate poverty, and various programs for economic growth. By the late 1980s, the nation had become a second-tier Asian Tiger.

Malaysia faced many trials in the first years after independence, with external challenges to development and ethnic unrest. A Rukunegera or national ideology was developed to restructure the socioeconomic system of Malaysia’s multiethnic society. The coalition government Barisan Nasional embarked on the New Economic Policy (NEP) in ...

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