Malaysia[mə lā′z̸hə, -s̸hə]
- Malay Archipelago
- country in SE Asia: a union (1963) of the former Federation of Malaya, Sabah, Sarawak, & Singapore (which seceded in 1965 to become an independent nation); member of the Commonwealth: 127,317 sq mi (329,750 sq km); pop. 17,567,000; cap. Kuala Lumpur
A country of southeast Asia consisting of the southern Malay Peninsula and the northern part of the island of Borneo. Malays probably moved into the peninsula c. 2000 BC, eventually reaching northern Borneo and displacing the indigenous Dayaks. Europeans established colonies starting in the 1500s. By the 1900s, Great Britain had established protectorates throughout the lower peninsula, which later formed the Union (1946) and then the Federation (1948) of Malaya. Gaining independence in 1957, it joined with Singapore, Sabah, and Sarawak to become the Federation of Malaysia in 1963. Singapore seceded from the federation in 1965. Kuala Lumpur is the capital and the largest city.